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** The stDdy of a Religioiu shoald be the life and maxims of Jesas Christ ; for if 
ihe has nut studied Jesos Christ, and formed her mind on His example, she is 
ttothing in His eyes, and wants all in wanting the Science of (he Saints.^'— if o^A«r 
CoXhariM McCai»jley* 



I C .TV . 

HjiiaOHAEL augubtinb; 


Hartford, Conn. 











In presenting this work for the first time in English dress, 
(he translator would take the opportunity of drawing the 
attention of the devout American reader to one or two pe- 
culiarities in its structure, whidi have already won for it 
a wide recognition among readers of books of its dass in 

In the first place, the allotment of separate months to in* 
dividual virtues agrees well with a practice of self-ezamina- 

Itbn much recommended by many spiritual writers, who 
advise us to take different virtues in turn as the objects of 
Bpecisl effort. Nothing certainly could be better fitted to 
assist OS in the acquisition of a virtue, than these selec- 
tions firom the writings of the most eminent masters of 
spiritual science, which portray its beauties, declare its neces- 
sity, or explain its various degrees and the methods of its 

In the second place, the few words of exhortation or in- 
struction, which open the reading for each day, are followed 
by the best of all commentaries — that of action. A great 
part of the book is composed of examples, which, while they 
have the interest of anecdote, furnish at the same time the 
strongest proofs of the possibility of carrying out in real 
life, precepts and principles which might odierwise seem too 
high and heavenly for our every-day existence. 

In the hope then that these exotic flowers may flourish 
and blossom in many an American garden, they are offered 
to ihe loyers of spiritual excellence and beauty by 

T^B T»Ay«I#A.TOB, 


"anslator'B Preface, tu 

naary. Perfectioiiy , 11 

tbroary. Hamility, . • • • • 44 

ftrch. MortificatioDy 87 

3iiL Patience, 121 

ij. MeekneBBy 153 

ne. Obedience, • 107 

ly. Simplicity, 223 

ignst. Diligence, 253 

ptember. Prayer, 280 

itober. Confidence, 306 

>yember. Charity, 330. 

member. Union, 367 




Be ^epmfid Mywr ^odnUif Faihir it pM/Mt— St. Matt, ▼ : 48. 

1. Oonsider all the past as nothing, and say, like DaTid : Kow I 
b^gin to loie my Qod.^8t. F^randt (U 8ala 

It was in this nuumer that the Apostle St Paul acted ; 
though^ after his conversion, he had become a vessel of 
dection, filled with the spirit of Jesus Christ, yet, to per- 
severe and advance in the heavenly way, he made use of 
this means, for he said in his Epistle to the Philippians : 
'^ Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended. 
But one thing I do : forgetting the things that are behind, 
and stretching forth myself to those that are before, Ipress 
towards the mark, to the prize of the supernal vocation of 
Qod in Christ Jesus." 

Thus, the glorious St. Anthony went on from day to day, 
stimulating himself to virtue. St. Anastasius sMd of him, 
that he always looked upon himself as a b^nn^, as if 
every day were the first in which he was serving Grod, and 
as if in the past he had done nothing good, and were but 
just setting foot in the w^y of the Lord, and taking the first 


•ttfi on the roid toheaveiL And this wis tlie very lift 
idmonitiim he left to his monks at his deatb : ^^ My 8(m^ 
said to thenii '^ if you wish to advance in virtue and per- 
fection^ never give up the practice of considering eadi day 
that you are then beginning; and of conducting yourselves 
always as you did on the day you b^an.'^ 

Thus, also; we find that St Or^ry^ St. Bernard^ and 
St Charles acted and advised others to act To render 
clearer to all, the necessity and utility of this method; they 
made use of two beautifbl comparisons, saying, that we must 
act in this like travellers, who do not regard the road they 
have gone over, but, rather, what remains for them to tra- 
verse, and this they keep always before their eyes, even to 
their journey's end ; or, like merchants, eager for ridies, who 
make no account <^what they have hitherto acquired, nor 
of the &tague they have bom^ but put all their thouj^ 
and care upon new acquisitions, and upon daily multiply* 
ing their posseesions, as if in the past they had made no 
profit at alL 

% We mnft begin wtth a Uroag and oootUat reeetitlleB to give 
ountlvM whoHj to God, profeifliig to Him» to a tsodsr, lovfag 
msttoer, from the bottom of our beartf, tbst we tetend to be Hie 
without soy merve, end then we must often go back end renew this 
same r8iolution.-*i6il. iV. d$ 8aU$. 

One of the means fer the acquisition of perftotion, which 
wasdiiefly inculcated and much practised hy St Philip Neri, 
was a frequent renewal of good resolutions. 

St Francis de Sales made fit)m time to time a spiritual 
renovation, and always cimceived in it new deeires to serve 
Ood better. 

St John Berdmians, at his very entrance into religion, 
planted in his heart a strong resolution to become a Saint, 




md then he not only remained constant in all the practioeB 
and resolutions which he took up for this end^ but he went 
on daily gaining new vigor to his spiritual advantage. 

When a holy Religious was giving the Exerdses at 
Torre di Speoohi in Bome^ a nun, called Sr. Marie Bonaven- 
tarai who was living a very relaxed life, did not wish to 
be pres^it By many entreaties she was finally induced to 
tttend« The first meditation, on the end of man, enkindled 
8uch fervor in her heart, that the Father had scarcely fin- 
ished when she called him to her, and said : *^ Father, I 
mean to be a Saint, and quickly/' She then withdrew to 
ber cell, and, writing the same words on a scrap of paper, 
&stened them to the foot of her crucifix. From this 
moment, she applied herself with so much earnestness to the 
piacfcioe of perfection, that a memoir of her was written at 
her death, which occurred eleven months later. 

a The Lord chiefly dedres of us that we should be completely 
perfect, that we may be wholly one with Him. Let us aim, there- 
fore, at whatever we need to reach this. — 8t. T$ 

Father Peter Faber, a companion of St. Ignatius, and 
highly esteemed by St. Francis de Sales, often dwelt on 
the thought that Grod greatly desires our advancement. 
And so he endeavored to grow constantly, and not to let a 
day pass without some progress in virtue, so that he gradu- 
ally rose to great perfection and a high reputation for sanc- 

St. Pacomius and St. Anthony, by studjring the virtues of 
others, stimulated themselves to attain similar excellence. 

The Venerable Sister Mary Villani had the following 
vision. On the Feast of St. Francis, for whom she had a 
partioolar devotion, this Saint appeared to her and led her 
to a lofty place, more beautiful than any she had ever seen. 


To reach it^ one was obliged to ascend four very high term- 
c^^ which signified, as the Saint revealed to her^ the foar 
d^rees of perfection. With great difficulty she ascended^ 
by his help, the first terrace^ and he explained to her that 
this was t^e first state of perfection, called purity of con- 
science, which borders on angelic purity. In it the soul be- 
comes like that of a little child, enjoys a pure and holy tranr 
quility, never thinks evil of others, nor interests itself ia 
what does not belong to its own position. Thence he brought 
her up to the second terrace, telling her that whoever had 
arrived at purity of conscience, becomes capable of prayer 
and of true love, which is the inseparable firuit of prayer. 
Here he enumerated to her the properties of true love, which 
is pure, simple, unselfish, and founded upon the truth of 
Grod^ who can give Himself only to souls already possessed 
of purity. Then he raised her to the third terrace, that of 
the cross and mortification, adding that fix,m purity and 
love the soul passes on to taking up the cross courageously 
and to being itself crucified, and that to arrive at tlus state 
one must acquire four cardinal virtues. These are, a true 
mortification of all vices and of every earthly afiection ; a 
perfect poverty of spirit, which tramples under foot all tem- 
poral goods ;, a living death, by which the soul dies to it- 
self and to all afiections of sense, and lives in a total anni- 
hilation and transformation into its crucified Lord, so as ta 
be able to say : '* I live, yet not I, but Qirist liveth in 
me. '' The soul that has gained this state, seems to have 
conquered the world, and bears sufferings and crosses as if 
it could no longer feel them. The fourth terrace^ he said, 
typified the state of real and perfect imion. 

4. I hear nothing talked of but perfection, yet I lee it practised 
only by few. Every one forms his own ideal of it Some place it 
in simplicity of attire ; some, in austerity ; some, in almsgivlDg ; 

MBit, In firequent reoepilon of the Sacraments ;— this ooe, in prayer ; 
tkit one, in paasiTe contemplation ; and another, in the gifts caUfd 
gitfoitoiiB. But, hf a general mistake, thej take the effects for the 
eme, mnd the means for the end. For my part, I know of no other 
perfection than loTing God with all the heart, and our neighbor as 
oanehres. Whoever imagines any other kind of perfection, de- 
CBires himself, for the whole accumulation of virtues without this, 
khat a heap of stones. And if we do not immediately and perfectly 
oijoj this treasore of holy love, the fault is in us. We are too slow 
aid ungenerous with God, and do not give ourselves up entirely to 
Him, as the Saints did.— ST. F. de SoIm. 

Who does not see that the perfection of this Saint must 
have been of a true and very sablime character, when his 
love for Grod and his neighbor was so great and so pure ? 
The same may be said also of St Vincent de Paul and 
many others. 

St Mary Magdalen di Pazad was truly admirable in both 
of these points. As we shall hereafter see, she was so much 
inflamed with the love of Grod, that she could not bear the 
excessive ardor of this divine fire, and was obliged to cool 
her glowing bosom with linen cloths soaked in water ; and 
she carried the love of her neighbor so &r as to desire and 
procure others' good in preference to her own. 

6. All perfection is founded upon only two principles, by means 
et which, with due attention to the daily actions suited to our state, 
we shall oertaluly arrive at the summit and fulness of it. The first 
principle is a Tery low esteem for all created things, but, above all, 
for ourselves. This low esteem should show itself, in practice, by 
renouncing ourselTCs and all creatures ; io our hearts, by a firm 
resolution ; and in our lives, in such ways as may be suitable, espec- 
ially, by manifesting contentment and cheerfulness when the Lord 
takes from us any good. The second principle is a very high esteem 
of Ood, which may be easily acquired by the light of faith, as He is 
Omnipotent, the Supreme Good, and our End ; as also because He 
liu loved us so much, and is ever present with us, and guides us in 
all things, both as to nature and grace, and, in particular, has called 


US and leads ua by a special vocation to a lofty perfection. From 
this esteem there must certainly arise in us a great submission of 
will, and of every power and faculty, to His greater glory, without 
any mingling of our oyrn interest, though it be ever so holy. At 
the same time, there will be great conformity with the Divine will, 
which will be the actual measure of all our designs, affections, and 
works. In this manner, the soul arrives at union— not, indeed, at 
the mystic union of raptures, elevations of the spirit, and vehement 
affections ; but the solid, real, and practical union of a will thor 
oughly conformed to the Divine will, by the perfect love which 
works out all things in Gk>d and for God without special lights. Of 
this, all are capable ; and all, with certainty, though not without 
crosses, can arrive at it.— i^. AehiUe Qagliardi, 

It was always the principal study of St. Vincent de 
Paul to establish and perfect himself in these two princi- 
ples. Therefore^ as his profound humility made him believe 
himself incapable of great things^ he thought only of ftilfill- 
ing fiuthfully towards Grod the obligations of a true and 
perfect Christian. And since he knew^ by heavenly illu- 
minations, that all Christian perfection depends upon a 
good use of these two principles, he aimed at them alone, 
and sought, above all, to penetrate them well and to fix them 
in his soul, that they might serve as an unerring rule and 
guide for all his actions. And the plan succeeded well. 
For God, who exalts the humble, did not think it enough to 
guide him by this means to that Christian perfection which 
he had prescribed to himself, but willed to exalt him to a 
sanctity equally solid and eminent, and which may truly 
be called singular, as, in fact, there are certainly few per- 
sons who without the help of extraordinary and mystic 
lights, under the guidance only of the lights of ordinary 
grace, have reached so lofty a sanctity as has this servant^os 

6. Perfection consists in one thing alone, which is, doing the will 
of GkxL For, according to our Lord's words* it suffices fQFJfffBC'* 

JANITABV.— -PSBFEonoir* 17 

Uon to deny self, to take up the cro68 and to follow Him. Now» 
who denies himself and takes up his cross and follows Christ better 
liian he who seeks not to do his own will, but always that of Ood t 
Behold, now, bow little is needed to become a Saint ! Nothing mora 
than to acquire the habit of willing, on every occasion, what God 
will8.~iSI(. Vincent de FatU. 

More than in anything else the Saint just quoted showed 
the purity and solidity of his virtue^ in always aiming to 
follow and obey the will of Grod. This was the great prin- 
ciple on which all his resolutions were founded^ and by 
which he &ithfully and firmly carried them into practice^ 
trampling under foot his own interest, and preferring the 
Divine will and the glory and service of God to anything 
else, without exception. 

The Lord said of David^ that he was a man after His own 
heart ; and the foundation for such high praise is given in 
these words, " for in all things he will do My will/' 

St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi was so much attached to 
this practice that she often said that she would never de- 
termine upon anything, however trivial, such as going from 
one room to anSherTif she thought it not in Snformity 
with the Divine will, nor would she omit to do anything 
she believed in conformity with it. And she added, that 
if it came into her mind while she was in the midst of an 
action, that such an act was contrary to the will of God, 
she would abandon it on the instant, though to do so might 
cost her life. 

Taulerus relates of a certain holy and learned man, that 
when his friends entreated him, on his death-bed, to leave 
them some good precept, he said : The sum and substance 
of all instruction is to take all that comes as from the hand 
of (3od, and to wish for nothing different, but to do in all 
things His divine wiU. 



The Venerable Seraphina of Grod had so great a love for 
the Divme will that she often entreated her director to 
manifest it to her^ saying, '^ Counsel me. Father, as to what 
I am to do, and do not let me do anything of myself, that 
I may please the Divine Majesty. For to see God ever so 
little displeased, would be worse than the loss of a thousand 
worlds." One day, there came to her so great a desire to 
do nothing according to her own will, but only according 
to that of God, that, with the consent of her director, she 
made a vow to that effect 

7. A servant of God signifies one who bas a great charity towards 
his neighbor, and an inviolable resolution to follow in everything 
the Divine will ; who bears with his own deficiencies, and patiently 
supports the imperfections of others.— iSS^. F, de Sales, 

The whole life of this Saint, as well as of St. Vincent de 
Paul, was but a faithful and continual exercise of these vir- 
tues, on the occasions which every day presented themselves. 
In this way they both became great servants of God. 

In the Lives of the Fathers of the West, it is told of St. 
Fintan, that he was daily visited by an angel, but that 
once the visit was omitted for several days. When the 
Saint had the happiness of seeing him again, he asked the 
Angel why he had been so long deprived of his most sweet 
oompanionship. " Because,^' replied the Angel, " I had to be 
present at the death of Motua, who was a great servant of 
Grod, and better than yourself, for he did what you have 
not done. This man never spoke a harsh word to any one 
present, nor an unkind word of any one absent. He never 
complained of heat or cold, nor of anything else, whatever 
it might be, or however it might happen ; but always con- 
formed himself to the will of God, in whose hands are all 


When St. Gertrade wad, one day, mourning over a little 
&ult into which she was aocostomed to fall at times, she 
earnestly entreated the Lord to free her from it But: He 
said to her, with great sweetness : ^^ Would you wish tlutfc 
I should be deprived of a great honor and you yourself of 
a great reward ? Know that every time one perceives a 
&ult of his own and resolves to avoid it for the fiiture, he 
gams a great reward; and as often as he keeps himself 
from fidling into itagain for My sake, he does Me as much 
honor as a valiant soldier does his king, when he fights 
manfiilly against his enemies and conquers them/' 

8. To be perfect in one's vocation, is notliing else than to perform 
the duties and offices to which one is obliged, solely for the honor 
and love of God, referring all to His glory. Whoever works in this 
manner, may be called perfect in his state, a man according to the 
heart and will of God.— iS^. F, de Sales, 

In the Lives of the Holy Fathers, it is narrated of the Ab- 
bot Paphnutius, who was highly celebrated for sanctity, 
that, one day, he expressed a desire to know from the Lord 
whether he had any merit in His eyes. He received the re- 
ply that he had gained equal merit with a certain nobleman, 

gentleinan, by whom he was kindly treated and hospitably 
entertained. When the repast was over, the Abbot b^ged 
of his host to tell him what was his manner of life. The 
Baron excused himself by saying that he did not possess any 
virtue, but after many entreaties, he said that he was very 
careful to entertain pilgrims, and provide them with what- 
ever might be necessary for their journey ; that he never de- 
spised the poor, but helped them in their need as much as he 
could ; that he had justice administered equitably, and 
always gave honest decisions, never swerving from right 


throughfear or &vor ; that he never oppressed his subjects ; 
that he allowed any one to beoome his tenant, and expected 
frcHn no one more than what was justly his due ; that no 
one oould complain of ever having received harm or damage 
from his &mily or cattle ; that he had never offended or 
slandered any one, but treated all with respect^ helped all as 
&r ias he was able, and endeavored to keep all in peace and 
harmony. On hearing this, the holy Abbot was greatly edi- 
fied, and understood that true perfection consisted not in 
great deeds, but in fulfilling our duties. 

In San Cesario in the province of Lecce, there lived in 
the time of St. Joseph da Cupertino a nun who had a great 
reputation for sanctity. One day, when the Saint hap- 
pened to visit the house of the Marquis of that place, he 
was asked his opinion of this report in regard to the nun. 
He answered, ^^ You have a real saint here among you, 
who is not known ;^^ and he named a poor widow, of whom 
not a word had ever been said. The Marquis inquired as 
to what were her good qualities, and found that she re- 
mained always shut up in her poor little home, with some 
of her daughters, and that they worked constantly to sup- 
port themselves, and were never seen abroad but once a 
day, which was very early in the morning, when they were 
going to church to hear Mass. 

9. Although in entering religion and taking care not to offend Ood» 
we may appear to have done every iliing, ah I how often certain worms 
remain, which do not allow themselves to be perceived, untU they 
have gnawed away our virtues! Such worms are selMove, self- 
esteem, harsh judgments of others, though in trifles, and a great want 
of charity towards our neighbor. But if, indeed, by dragging on, we 
satisfy our obligations, we do not do it with that perfection which 
Qod would expect of us.— iS^. Teresa. 

To one of these worms, self-esteem, Monseigneur de- 


Fdafi>x attributed his own relaxation after his conversion 
and his narrow escape from eternal ruin. '^ For/' said he, 
^ though I was humble, had 1, therefore, a right to believe 
that I was truly humble ? and though I desired and in- 
tended to be good, ought I, therefore, to presume that I 
was truly good ? This hidden pride obliged the Divine 
Goodness to overwhelm me, in order that I might see that 
I was not good, but bad, weak, miserable, full of pride, 
sensualiiy, and un&ithfidness, and a prodigal soorner of the 
gifts of grace.'' 

It is told in the Lives of the Fathers, that two of them 
had received the gift of beholding mutually the grace which 
was in the heart of the other. One of them, leaving his 
cell early one Friday morning, found a monk who was 
eating at the hour contrary to their custom. He judged 
him to be in fault, and reproved him. When he returned 
home, his companion did not see in him the usual sign of 
grace, and asked him what he had done. But when the 
other remembered nothing, he added, ^^ Think whether you 
may not have said some idle word." Then he remembered 
his rash judgment, and related what had happened. 
For this &ult, they both &sted two whole weeks, at the end 
of which the usual sign appeared in the brother who had 
been culpable. 

10. Observe that perfectioB is not acquired by sitting with our 
arms folded, but it is necessary to work in earnest, in order to con- 
quer ourselves and to bring ourselves to live, not according to our 
incUnations and passions, but according to reason, our Rule, and 
obedience. The thing is hard, it cannot be denied, but necessary. 
With practice, however, it becomes easy and pleasing.— /SK. F, ds 

Plutarch relates of Lycurgus that he once took two pup- 
pies of the same litter, and trained up one in the kitchen and 


the other to hunting* When they were grown (one dlty 
when he was going to address the people)^ he took them 
into the forum, where he threw down some fish-bones and 
at the same time let loose a hare. The first immediately 
b^an to gnaw the bones, while the other set off in pursuit 
of the hare. Then Lycurgus commanded silence, and, turn- 
ing to the people, said : " Do you see this ? These two dogs 
are of the same breed, yet they are not inclined to the same 
thing, but each to that which he has been accustomed to. 
So true is it that habit ends in overcoming even the most 
violent inclinations of nature.'* 

It is written of St. Ignatius Loyola, that through the con- 
tinual struggle which he had made to mortify himself and 
to bear contradictions patiently, he had arrived at such a 
point as to appear to have no longer any inclination. The 
L. U>U.g do !>«. noii Jh J.y otter. 

11. All the science of the Saints is included in these two things : 
To do, and to suffer. And whoever has done these two things best, 
has made himself most saintly. — St, F, de Salet, 

Any one who reads the Lives of Sts. Ambrose, Basil, 
Jerome, Chrysostom, Dominic, Vincent de Paul, and other 
great Saints, will not be surprised that they became so re- 
markable for holiness, when he sees the innumerable good 
works which they wrought, and the great sufferings which 
they endured. 

We are told, in the Lives of the Fathers, that this was 
the method chiefly employed by St. Dorotheus, to sanctify 
his disciple Dositheus. This Saint kept the 1 atter constantly 
occupied, especially in things opposed to his own wishes. If 
he saw in his possession any article that was convenient and 
well made, even though it might be necessary for his work, 
he took it from him ; if Dositheus called his master's at- 


tention to anything which he had done well^ the Saint 
Beat him away without any answer; and thus, in every 
desire^ the Saint sought to mortify his disciple, while the 
latter, in the meantime, obeyed promptly in everything, 
and bore all without reply. And thus, in the course of 
only five years, he reached a very high perfection and 

13. I wish I coold penuade spiritual persons that the way of per- 
fection does not consist in many deTices, nor in much cogitation, 
bat in denying themselves completely, and yielding themselves to 
suffer everything for love of Christ And if there is failure in this 
exercise, all other methods of walking in the spiritual way are merely 
a beating about the bush, and profitless trifling, although a person 
abonld have a very high contemplation and communication with 
God.^/ft. John of the Crou. 

Cassian wrote concerning the Abbot Paphnntius that the 
road by which he arrived at such great sanctity, was that 
of constantly mortifying himself; and that in this manner 
he extinguished in himself all vices, and perfected in him- 
self all virtues. 

Father Balthasar Alvarez practised continual mortifica- 
tion and self-denial in all that nature desired, not only in 
great things, but also in small ; and by this he arrived at 
hi^ perfection. 

The Blessed Angela di Foligno, in an ecstasy, saw the Lord 
bestowing marks of love upon some of His servants, but upon 
one, more ; upon another, less. Desiring to understand the 
cause of this difference, she advanced to inquire of our 
Lord, who answered thus : " I invite all to Me, but all are 
not willing to come, because the way is interlaced with 
thorns. To all who come, I offer My bread to eat and My 
cup to drink. But My food is not pleasing to sense, and 
My ci^ is full of bitterness, so that all do not desire to satiate 


themfielves with those labors which weie My meat while I 
was in the world. But those who are most constant in 
bearing Me dompany^ they certainly are My dearest and 
most favored ones/' When the Saint had heard this^ she 
was filled with so great a desire of suffering and denying 
herself in all ways, that when many difficulties were after- 
wards placed in her way by her Religious and by her own 
&mily, she experienced in them as great comfort as a world- 
ling could have found in any plan made for his pleasure 
and advantage. 

18. The greatest fault among those who have a good will, is that 
they wish to be somethini^ they cannot be, and do not wish to be 
what they necessarily must be. They cooceive desires to do great 
things, for which, perhaps, no opportunity may ever come to them, 
and, meantime, neglect the small which the Lord puts into their hands. 
There are a thousand little acts of virtue, such as bearing with the 
importunities and imperfections of our neighbors, not resenting an 
unpleasant word or a trifling injury, restraining an emotion of 
anger, mortifying some little affection, some ill-regulated desire to 
speak or to listen, excusing an indiscretion , or yielding to another 
in trifles. These are things to be done by all ; why not practise 
tbem? The occasions for great gains come but rarely, but of little 
gains many can be made each day ; and by managing these little 
gains with judgment, there are some who grow rich. Oh, how holy 
and rich in merits we should make ourselves, if we but knew how 
to proflt by the opportunities which our vocation supplies to us I 
Yes, yes, let us apply ourselves to follow well the path which is 
close before us, and to do well on the first opportunity, without oc- 
cupying ourselves with thoughts of the last, and thus we shall make 
good progress. — 8t. F, de SaUs 

St. Philip Neri, enkindled with a desire of martyrdom, 
had resolved to go to preach the Faith in India. But 
when God informed him, by revelation, that his India must 
be in Bome, he employed himself there, and by leading a 
life full of virtuous actions, he became a great Saint, 

> ■»* 


SL John BeidimaiiS; in only five years of religions life^ 
eertainly reached ^ lofty perfection. Now^ how did he 
aooomplish it ? By nothing except striving to be &ithful 
to do exactly all those things which he knew to be right and 
possible for him, in the way of not n^Iecting any part of 
perfection, which, with the aid of grace, he might be able to 

St. Gertrade, feeling very weak one day, decided to make 
an effort to say Matins. When she had finished the First 
!Noctam, another sick Sister came to ask her to say the Of- 
fice with her ; and she immediately went back to the brin- 
ing. That same morning she had a vision, in which she 
saw her soul adorned with jewels of great valne, and the 
Lord said to her, that by the act of charity which she had 
performed for His love, she had merited this ornament, in 
which the jewels equalled in number the words she had re- 

We read of a young Jesuit student, that, one morning in 
vacation, when he was just starting for a walk with some 
of his companions, he was requested by one of the Fathers 
to wait half an hour and serve Mass, which he did. When 
he had become more advanced in knowledge and age, he 
went to preach the Faith among the Infidels, and there 
was found worthy to obtain the glory of martyrdom. Then 
it was revealed to him that so great a grace had been given 
him by Grod in reward for the little mortification which he 
accepted in serving Mass. 

14. Our greatest fault is, that we wish to serve God in our way, 
not in flis way ; according to our will, not according to His will. 
When He wishes us to be sick, we wish to be well ; when he de- 
sires us to serve Him by sufferings, we desire to serve Him by 
works ; when He wishes us to exercise charity, we wish to exercise 
humility ; when He seeks from us resignation, we wish for devotion, 


a spirit of prayer, or some other virtue. And this is not becatiae 
the things we desire may be more pleasing to Him, but because they 
aie more to our taste. This is certainly the greatest obstacle we can 
raise to our own perfection, for it is beyond doubt that if we wish 
to be Saints according to our own will, we shall never be so at alL 
To be truly a Saint, it is necessary to be one according to the will of 
God.— iSSf. F, de Sales, 

St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi knew this most important 
truth ; andy with the guidance of so clear a light, she knew 
how to submit her will to that of God so perfectly, that 
she was always contented with what came to her day by 
day, nor did she ever desire anything extraordinary. She 
was even accustomed to say that she would consider it a 
marked defect to ask of the Lord any grace for herself or 
others, with any greater importunity than simple prayers, 
and that it was her joy and glory to do His will, not that 
He should do hers. Even as to the sanctity and perfection 
of her own soul, she wished that it might be not ac- 
cording to her own dt^sire, but to the will of Grod. And so, 
we find among her writinga this resolution : To offer my- 
self to Grod, and to seek all that perfection and only that 
perfection which He is pleased that I should have, and in 
the time and way that He shall wish, and not otherwise. 
Jn conversation with an ^timate friend, she once said : 
The good which does not come to me by this way of the 
Divine will, does not seem to me good. I would prefer 
having no gift at all except that of leaving all my will and 
all my desires in Grod, to having any gift through desire 
and will. Yes, yes, in me sint, DeuSy vota tua, et non vota 
mea — ^Thy will, not mine, be done. The grace which she 
asked most frequently and most earnestly of the Lord was 
this, that He would make her remain till death entirely 
subject and submissive to His divine will and pleasure ; 
thus it is uo wonder that she became so holy. 


Even amoDg the heathens, there are to be found thoee 
who by the li^t of reason alone clearly understood this 
tmlii. Plutaidi disapproved of the common prayer of 
the people,— May Grod give yon all that good whidi yon 
deaixe. No, he says, we ought rather to say, May Grod 
giant that you diall desire what He desires. And what 
is num, Epictetus practised it ; for he said : ^^ I am always 
ooaiteat with whatever comes to me day by day, for I know 
that whatever hi^pens, it all happens by the disposal of 
Qoiy and I am certain that what €rod wills is better than 
idiat I can ever will." 

15. Two mistakes I flod common among spiritual poBons. One 
is tliat th^ oidfoarily measnie their devotion by the oonsolmtions and 
Mtkfurtions whldi tliey experience in the way of God, so that if 
these hi^ypea to be wanting, they think they have lost all devotion. 
No, tbb is no moie than a tensiUe devotion. Trae and sobetantial 
devotion does not oonsiBt in these things, but in having a will reso- 
lute, active, ready, and constant net to offend Qod, and to perform 
an that belongs to His service. The other mistake is, that if it ever 
happens to them to do anything with repugnance and weariness, they 
believe they have no merit in it On the oliher hand, there is then far 
greater merit ; so that a single ounce of good done thus by a sheer 
spiritoal effort, amidst dariuess and dulness, and without interest, 
is worth more than a hundred pounds done with great facOity and 
sweetness, since the former requires a stronger and purer love. And 
hofw great soever may be the aridities and repugnance of the sensible 
part of our sool, we ought never to lose courage, but pursue our way 
as tmveUers treat the barking of dogs.— /Sir. F. de 8ale$ 

A pious matron desiring to know what class of soals 
was most acceptable to the Lord, He gratified her wish by 
the following vision. One morning she was hearing Mass, 
vdien, after the Elevation, she saw Jesus in the form of a 
most lovely diild^ who b^an to walk aboot the altar. 
TbtesMX he descended to a place where three devout nuns 
were kneeling at its foot He took <»ie of them by the 


hand and gave her many caresses. Then approaching tlie 
second^ He raised her veil and gave her a slight blow on 
the cheek, and left her as if in anger ; but soon returning, 
and finding her in grief and affliction, He devoted Himself 
to consolii^ her with a thousand endearments. Finally, 
He came to the third, and, with an appearance of great 
wrath, took her by the arm and drove her away firom 
the altar, loading her with blows, and even tearing the hair 
from her head, while she bore all with great calmnesi, 
humbling herself and blessing God. Then Jesus, turning 
to the matron, said ; ^^ You must know that the first one is 
weak in virtue, and very changeable ; therefore, to confirm 
her in the good way, I show myself altogether amiable and 
kind ; otherwise, she would leave it. The second is more 
perfect, yet she needs to experience, from time to time, some 
spiritual sweetness. But the third is so firm and constant 
in my service, that whatever adversity may come to her, 
she will not allow herself to be withdrawn from it, and ah« 
is my best beloved.'' 

St. Philip Neri, in order to save his penitents from the 
first of these mistakes, used to tell them, that in the spir- 
itual life there are three degrees. The first, which is called 
animal, includes those who follow the sensible devotion, 
which Grod usually gives to banners, in order that, drawn 
by this delight as animals are by sensible objects, they may 
give themselves to the spiritual life. The second, which is 
called the life of man, is led by those who without sensible 
consolation fight for virtue against their own passions, 
which is the true characteristic of man. The third is called 
the angelic life. Those have arrived at it, who after long 
struggles in subduing their own passions, receive from Grod 
a life calm and tranquil, and, as it were, angelic even in 
tbisworld. And if any one perseveres in the second degreej 

JANUAHT. — ^PEBFfiCtlON. 29 

Godwillnot&il^inHisowntimeyto raise him to the third. 

18. We are not to regard great favors from God so much as Tir* 
txim, bat contider who serres the Lord with the greatest mortifica* 
tion, humility, and purity of conscience * for the latter without th- 
former will be the more holj,^8t, Terua. 

Were proofs of this tnith wanting^ the example of St. 
Vincent de Paul would be sufficient to confirm it. Very, 
few extraordinary &vors are recorded of him^ yet he has 
been, and is now, r^arded by all as a man of rare sanctity. 

Bufinus of Aquilia tells of St. Macarius, that at one time 
be believed himself to have made much progress in virtue. 
But one day, when at prayer, he heard a voice which said 
to him, ^' Macarius, know that thou hast not attained 
as much virtue as two women who live at such a place/' 
Macarius went instantly to find them, and perceived, upon 
examination, that they possessed great merit, for they had 
lived together for fifteen years, in the same house, in per- 
fect union and charity, without the slightest disagreement 
in word or act occurring between them. The Saint was 
amazed at this, and confessed that they were, in truth, better 
and more perfect than be, although he had been gift;ed by 
the Divine Goodness with many extraordinary favors. 

17. Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do ? Here is the true token 
of a soul absolutely perfect,-^when one has succeeded la leaving be- 
hind his own will to such a degree as no longer to seek, to aim, or to 
desire to do, what he would will, but only what God wills. ^-^Sl. 

These were the first words of the Apostle St. Paul as he 
recognized the Lord : " Lord, what wilt Thou have me 
to do V^ And they were uttered by him with so much 
sincerity of affection, and with such submission of will, 
I that from that day forward he had no other desire and no 


other aim than to Mfil the Divine will in all and through 
all. Nor in all the adversities^ labors, sufferings, and tor- 
ments, which he encountered, was there ever a thing suf- 
ficient to diminish, or even in the least to shake, his constancy 
and fidelity. 

St. Jane Frances de Chantal had so great a desire to 
know and fi^Uow the Divine will, that on merely hearing 
those words, " Divine will," she felt all on fire, as if a torch 
had been applied to her heart, and she remained in a kind 
of torture until she knew how she was to understand 

The venerable Mother Seraphina di Dio testifies of her- 
self that the Lord showed her plainly, by an interior illu- 
mination, how good a thing it is to live without any will 
of one's own, and to commit one's self entirely to His holy 
will. " I remained,'' she says, " fully persuaded that on 
account of His greatness and perfection it was the most 
suitable thing for all His creatures to have no other will 
than that of their most loving God ; and that when one 
has reached this point, he belongs wholly to God. and en- 
joys Paradise upon earth." 

18. If you truly wish to ma&e spiritual profit, you must apply 
yourself dosely to that "Counsel of the Apostle, Attende iHn^Take 
heed to thyself . This Implies two things. r.The first, is not to become 
entangled in others' affairs^, or watchful u to their defects ; since he 
has no little to do. who wishes to maxiage his own affairs well and cor- 
rect his own'^failuresi.'^Th^Wsoiid, is to' take our own perfection to 
heart and attend to it incessantly, without regarding whether others at- 
tend to theirs or not.. For perfection is so purely individual a matter, 
that, though men who belong to the same order, company, famil.y, 
or country, are here said to make one body ; yet, in the world above, 
it is certtiin that each one will be separate by himself, and carry his 
profits and losses to his own account. — Abbot Pastor, 

A rare pattern of this was St. John Berchmans. From 


his first entrance into religion, it had been his fixed inten- 
tion to become a Saint ; and, from the same time, he made 
it his aim and his only important business, to watdi over 
himself; and to this, in fact, he gave his attention as long 
as he lived. He did this with such application and such 
miwearied earnestness, that he did not even have time to 
think of others^ occupations, or to notice their defects. And 
tims, he never stopped to reflect why others said or did so 
and so, or whether they did well or ill. Nor did he ever en- 
list in the defence of one with the danger of offending an- 
other, but let every one go his own way and manage his own 
affiurs for himself. As to the fiiults of others, he thought 
of them so little, that even when they were committed in 
his presence, he did not notice them ; and it was said of 
him that he was not able to tell what errors the others com- 
mitted. All hiscare was to correct his own defects and to 
perform his own actions well ; and so, the pains he took to 
keep his soul clear of every fisiult, were something extraor- 
dinary. For, besides carefiilly making the daily examens 
and a most rigorous retreat of one day in each month, he 
ofiien and urgently entreated his superiors and companions 
to keep their eyes upon him, and inform him of anything 
they might see amiss. And when counsel of that kind was 
given him, he received it as a peculiar fiivor, and offered 
special prayers for whoever gave it. But not content with 
this, as he had an ardent desire to render himself as pleas- 
ing as possible in the eyes of Grod, he employed every effort 
to this end. Therefore, he devoted himself with admirable 
diligence to the most exact observance of his Rules ; to 
executing promptly and feithfuUy whatever was imposed 
on him by obedience ; to performing well and with particu- 
lar devotion the spiritual exercises as things which iftime- 
diately concern the honor of God and one's own profit, pay- 


ing most attention of aU to his communions, to which he 
always gave two hours ; and, finally, to practising all vir- 
tues, especially charity towards the sick. Though he had 
great fondness for study, he never allowed it to stand in the 
way of his spiritual exercises, nor of charity or obedience ; 
for his heart did not seek for what afforded most delight^ 
but most merit. And he did all these things without no- 
ticing at all whether others did the same or fiuled in them, 
because that one precept, cMende tibiy ever remained planted 
deeply in his heart. 

^That harm does it cause the other Apostles now that the 
unhappy Judas remains suffering in hell? Alltheloss fidls 
upon Judas alone. And if Berchmans be higher in heaven 
than so many others who were his companions in religion, 
is not all the gain his ? 

19. Do not let any occasion of gaining merit pass without taking 
care to draw some spiritual profit from it ; as, for example, from 
a sharp word which some one may say to you ; from an act of obe- 
dience imposed against your will ; from an opportunity which may 
occur to humble yourself, or to practise charity, sweetness, and pa- 
tience. All these occasions are gain for you, and you should seek 
to procure them ; and at the close of that day, when the greatest 
number of them have come to you, you should go to rest most cheer* 
ful and pleased, as the merchant does on the day when he has had 
most chance for making money ; for on that day business has proa^ 
pered with him.— iSI^. IgnaUui Loydkt, 

It was one of the principal mayims which St. John Berdi- 
mans kept fixed in his mind, as we read in his Life, to 
endeavor to gain merit in everything, and not to let any 
occasion, however small, escape, if it could be profitable to 
him. For this reason, he continually went in search of such 
occasions, and when tliey came to him from others, he em- 
braced them all with courage and heart-felt joy, without 
ever remarking the want of discretion and virtue which 


&ey betrayed in others^ attendii^ only to his own advanoe- 

ffient in humility. And so^ from whatever he heard ot 

8AW, he was always wont to derive some good fiiiit for 

twaoaelf; and in this way he attained to the condition of a 

Saint^ which was precisely what he desired. 

When St. Matilda was visited by the Lord, accompanied 
by many Saints, one of them said to her : '^ Oh, how blessed 
are yoa who still live upon earth, on account of the great 
me'it you can acquire P^ If a man knew how much he could 
merit in a day, at the moment he arose in the morning, his 
heart would be filled with joy ; because the day had ap- 
peared in which he could live to his Lord, and, by His 
grace, increase so greatly His honor and glory and his own 
merit. This would give him great confidence and strength 
to do and suffer everything with extreme satis&ction. 

We read of St. Francis Xavier that he was stung with 
shame and self-reproach when he found that merchants had 
gone to Japan with their merchandise, sooner than he him- 
self with the treasure-) of the Gospel, to spread the Faith and 
extend the kingdom of heaven. 

20. Give yourself in earnest to the acquisition of virtue ; other- 
wise, you will remain always a dwarf in it. Never believe that you 
have acquired a virtue, if you have not made proof of it in resisting 
its contrary vice, and unless you practise it faithfully on suitable oc- 
casions, which, for this reason, ought never to be avoided, but rather 
desired, sought, and embraced with eagerness. — 8t, Teresa, 

St. Vincent de Paul was not contented, as so many are, 
with knowing and loving virtues, but he applied himself 
continually to the practice of them. It was his maxim, 
that labor and patience are the best means of acquiring and 
planting them firmly in our hearts, and that virtues acquired 
without effort or difficulty can be easily lost, w^hile those 
which have been beaten by the storms of temptation, and 


practiged amid the difiScolties and repugnanoes of natar^ 
sink their roots deq> into the heart. And so^ on snch oo- 
oasions^ instead of being sad^ he appeared unusually cheer- 
ful. When a certain person was lamenting a miflchanoe 
which had recently occurred, as likely to give bad opinion 
of his communiiy, and give rise to comments injurious to 
himselfj he replied, ^^ This is good, for it will give us a 
more &vorable occasion to practise virtue.'^ 

By this same sentiment, St. Philip Neri encouraged his 
penitents not to grieve when they suffer temptations and 
trials, telling them that when the Lord intends to confer on 
any one some particular virtue. He is accustomed to permit 
him to be first assailed by the contrary vice. 

St. Francis de Sales illustrated the firmness of virtue in 
this manner : ^^ If," said he, ^^ the world comes to attack 
me, I will treat it as I would a viper : I will trample it 
under foot, and obey none of its suggestions. If Satan arms 
his powers, I will not fear them at all. I am stronger 
than he. God is my Father, and He will have compas- 
sion on me, and will fight for me." Here is a fine example 
of virtue and, of the way to exercise it. 

21. Humility and charity are the two master-chords : one, the 
lowest ; the other, the highest ; all the others are dependent on them. 
Therefore, it is necessary, above all, to maintain ourselves in these 
two virtues ; for, observe well that the preservation of the whole edi- 
fice depends on the foundation and the roof, St. F, de 8ale$. 

Although there never was or can 6e any Saint destitute 
of these two most necessary virtues, yet there have been 
some who, in our eyes at least, have seemed to excel 
in their brightness. One of these was certainly St. Frauds 
di Paula. Through his great humility, he was not con- 
tented with considering himself the least of all men^ but ho 


alao desired that this should be the mark distinguishing 
his Order from all others ; and^ as to charity^ he was so 
inflamed with love, that he sometimes lit candles by touch- 
ii^ them with his finger^ just as if he had applied to them 
a burning torch. 

82. The two feet upon which one walks to perfection are morti- 
llcatioa and the loTe of God. The latter is the right, the former the 

By the aid of these^ St. Francis Assisi climbed to the 
loftiest perfection. He led a life so austere and rigid, that 
at the point of death he felt that he must ask pardon of his 
body for having treated it so ill ; and his love of Qod was 
80 remarkable, that he gained not only for himself, but for 
his Order as well, the noble title of Seraphic. 

When St Francis de Sales wished to lead any one to live 
in a Christian manner, and renounce worldliness, he would 
not speak of the exterior, — of the adornment of the hair, of 
rich dress, and similar things ; but he spoke only to the 
heart and of the heart ; for he knew that if this fortress is 
captured, all else surrenders ; and that when the true love 
of God comes to possess a heart, all that is not God seems 
to it of no account. 

St. Philip Neri adopted the same course with his peni- 
tents. He was not accustomed to dwell very much upon 
any vanities in dress, but he would overlook them as much as 
possible for some time, that he might more easily arrive at 
his object. When a lady once asked him whether it was 
a sin to wear very high heels, his only answer was, " Take 
care not to fitU.'^ A man also came frequently to see him, 
wearing a collar with long stiff points. One day, he 
touched him lightly on the neck, and said: ^^I wouM 
ofkener give you such marks of friendship if joar collar 


did not hurt my hand/^ And with these reproofi alone 
both corrected their &ults. A clergyman of noble birth^ 
dressed in bright colors and with much display^ came to 
the Saint every day for a fortnight, to consult him in re- 
gard to the affairs of his soul. During all this time he 
said not a word to him in r^ard to his dress, but only took 
pains to make him feel compunction for his sins. Finally, 
becoming ashamed of his style of dress, he changed it of 
Jiis own accord, made a good general confession, and giv- 
ing himself wholly into St. Philip's hands, became after- 
wards one of his most intimate and familiar friends. 

28. When one is going on really well, he feels in himse^ a con- 
tinual desire to advance ; and the more he grows in perfecUon, the 
more this desire grows. Since his light is increasing every day, 
it always seems to him that he has no virtue and is doing no good ; 
or if, perhaps, he sees that he has and is doing some good, it yet 
appears to him very imperfect, and he makes little account of it. 
And so it comes to pass, that he always goes on laboring for the ac- 
quisition of virtue without ever being weary, — 8t, Lawrence Jtutiri' 

St Fulgentius was so enamored of perfection that what- 
ever he did towards it, always seemed to him little, and he 
was always desiring to do better. 

St. Vincent de Paul every day saw more of his own 
&ults, yet he continually applied anew all bis zeal to 
amend and perfect himself. 

St. Ignatius constantly compared one day with another, 
and the gain on one day with the gain on another. Thus, 
he advanced daily, and entertained a constant desire of ad- 
vancing still more, that he might reach the summit of per- 
fection to which Grod called him. 

St. James the Apostle received great praise because he 
went on advancing daily in the divine service. 

94. To be pleased at correction and reproofs, shows that one Iotm 


fte Tirtnes which are contrary to those faults for which he is cor^ 
leeted and reproved. And, therefore, it is a great sign of advance- 
Deot in perfection.~i6!(. F, de 8ale$. 

When a monk onoe visited the Abbot Serapion^ he sug^ 
gested thaty first of all, they should pray together. But 
the visitor refused, sajring that he was a great sinner and 
imworthy to wear the habit. A little while after, the Ab- 
bot addressed him thus : ** My brother, if you wish to 
become perfect, remain at work in your cell and do not talk 
mudi, for going about a great deal, is not desirable for 
you.'' At these words, the monk was not a little perturbed. 
When the Abbot perceived this, he added, ^^ What is the 
matter, brother ? A moment ago you said you were so 
great a sinner that you were not worthy to live ; and now, 
when I have shown you, in charity, ^hat you need, are 

is not genuine. If you wish to be humble in truth, learn 
to receive admonitions humbly." At this reproof, the 
monk recollected himself, acknowledged his &ult, and went 
away greatly edified. 
/ The Empress Leonora requested her confessor and those 
ladies of her court with whom she was most intimate, that 
when they observed anything in her that needed amend- 
ment or improvement, to inform her of it with all pos- 
sible fireedom, as they would tell her the pleasantest news ; 
and when they did it, she thanked them very cordially. 

When St. Peter was reproved by St. Paul, he was not 
angiy, neither did he stand upon his dignity as Superior, 
or look down upon the other for having been a persecutor 
of the Church ; but received the advice in good part 

We read of St. Ambrose, that when any one informed him 
of a fitult, he thanked him as for a special favor ; and there 
waa a certain Cistercian who was especially pleased at an ad- 


monition^ and used to say an Our Father for whoever 
gave it. 

St. John Berchmans always entertained a great de- 
sire to have his &,ults told him in public^ and to be reproved 
for them ; and if this ever happened, he was much pleased. 
With this intention, he used to write them on scraps of 
paper, which he gave to the Superiors, that they might read 
them and reprimand him for them. Not content with 
this, he asked of the Superior that four of his companions 
might keep their eyes on him and admonish him. One of 
these testified that, having once drawn his attention to a 
slight omission into which he had Mien, on account of being 
occupied in another work of charity at the time, he thanked 
him cordially for the warning, and said the beads for 
him three times, promising that he would always do 
the same whenever he would inform him of any defect. 

25. The firmest assimnce that we can have in this world of being f 
in the grace of God, does not consist at all in sentiments of love to ^ 
Him, but in complete and irrevocable abandonment of our whole ^ 
being into His hands, and in the firm resolution never to consent to ' 
any sin either great or small.— /Si(. F. de Saks 


We read in old chronicles, of a young lady who was so ^ 
severely a£9icted that she seemed to be suffering the pains of ^^ 
hell. After remaining for a long time in this state, she, ^^ 
one day, turned her whole heart to God, in this prayer : ^ 
*^ My sweetest Lord, only remember that I am a poor creat- 
ure of Thine ! for the rest, do with me what pleases Thee^ J* 
now and through eternity I I abandon myself into Thj ^ 
hands, and am ready to suffer these torments as long as it .?^ 
shall please Thee. '^ This act of resignation, which she ,. 
made from her heart, with all sincerity, was so pleasing to r 
God, that it was scarcely finished when He united her <4*r! 


BuDBei£, and immersed her blissfully in the immense ocean 
of His divinity. 
St Gatherine of Genoa said : ^^ I am no more my own; 
I whether I live or die^ I am my Savior's ; I have no longer 
my possession or interest of my own. My Grod is all ; 
my being consists in being wholly His. O world ! thoa 
tit always the same^ and^ until now^ I have been always 
Ihe same ; but^ from this time forth, I will be such no 

28. Let U8 learn from Jesus in the manger, to hold the things of 
the world in such esteem as they deserve.— 61^. F. de 8ale$. 

The Ven. Beatrice of Nazareth saw, in a vision, the 
whole system of the universe beneath her feet, and God 
alone above her head, so that she was standing, as it were, 
between God and the world — ^the world beneath, God above, 
and she herself in the middle. By this, she understood 
that the height of perfection is gained when one has over 
his head only God, and all else under his feet, making no 
more account of it than if it did not exist, placing all his 
love and interest in Grod, and nothing else, not even him- 
self, except in Gt)d. 

St. Hedwig, Queen of Poland, after becoming a nun, 
would never mention or listen to any worldly news, unless 
it concerned the honor of God and the salvation of souls. 

27. If you wish for a method brief and compendious, one which 
oontains in itself all other methods, and is most efficacious In conquer- 
ing all temptations and difficulties, and acquiring perfection, — this 
is the exercise of the presence of God. — St, Bctsil. \ 

A priest who was an intimate friend of the same St. Basil, 
nffered many severe temptations and many grievous threats 
from Julian tixe Apostate, but always held his grouuid firmly 


against them. He himself assigned this reason for nis vuv 
toiy : ^^ It was because/^ he said, ^^ in all that time^ so fiur 
as I, remember^ the Divine Presence never escaped my 

Joseph^ when solicited to evil, replied, " How shall I do 
this under the eye of Grod ?'' And Susanna said, '^ It is 
better for me to Ml into your hands without &ult, than to 
sin in the si£:ht of God/' 

St.Ephrembeing soUcitedtosin by awomanofevillifV 
professed his readiness, provided the scene of their trans- 
gression should be the public square. But when the woman 
objected to this condition, on account of the shame it would 
involve, " Then,'* replied the Saint, " you fear shame before 
the eyes of men, and do you not fear it before the angels of 
God ?'' By this consideration, he brought about her con- 

When Tais learned that God beheld her in the commis- 
sion of sin, she resisted a thousand temptations and became 
a Saint. 

28. To be able to advance much in perfection, it is neceesaiy to ^w 

apply ourselves to one thing by itself » — to a single book of devotioOt ^ 

to a single spiritual exercise, to a single aspiration, to a single virtue^ ^ 

and so on. Not, indeed, that all other things ought to be quite r&- , 

jected and passed by, but in such a way that tbis to which one is '•'" 

applying himself, may usually be aimed at more in particular and ai ^ 
the special object of the most frequent effort, so that if one chaaoe 
to turn to others, these may be like accessories. To do otherwise, by 

passing from one exercise to another, is to imitate those who spoil '^ 

their appetite at a banquet by tasting a little of every delicacy. It tt 

is perpetually seeking, and never attaining* the science of the Saints, L 

and so it results in losing that tranquillity of spirit in God, which Is • 
the * * one thing needful " that Mary chose. We must, however, guard 

ourselves here from one fault, into which many fall. It is that of M 

attaching ourselves too much to our own practices and spiritual ^^ 

exercises. This, naturally, makes us feel dislike for all methods nol L 

conformed %o our own ; for each on9 thinks that he employs ikt i' 


Ittlysaitable one, and considers as imperfect those who do not work 
in the same way. YThoeyer has a good spirit, draws edification from 
efetything, and condemns nothing.— jS^. F. ds 8ale$ 

Although the Saints profited by everything^ yet, eacn of 
tbem chose some practice of his own, in which he exerdsed 
himself particularly. For example, the favorite author of 
SL Francis de Sales was Scupoli, that of St. Dominic, Cas- 
sian ; the most frequent ejaculation of St. Francis was, 
"My God is my all P that of St. Vincent de Paul, " In 
the nanae of the Lord !'^ that of St. Bruno, " Oh, Grood- 
ness P Some had the presence of God for their spiritual 
exercise ; some, purity of intention ; some, resignation to 
the Divine will ; and others, the renunciation of themselves. 
The same was the case with regard to the virtues. One had 
a greater love for one virtue ; another, for another. 
Whence it happens that almost all excelled particularly in 
some special virtue. 

St. Catherine of Sienna, in regarding these various pref- 
0-ences of good souls, disapproved of none of them, but 
lather rejoiced that the Lord should be served in so many 
and such different ways. 

29. If yoa wish to arrive speedily at the summit of perfection, ani- 
mate yourself to a true love of shame, insults, and calumny.—^. 

As this Saint was meditating, one day, on the great ad- 
vantages which spring from shame and insults, he con- 
ceived a vehement desire to go through the public squares 
of fiome loaded with rags and other rubbish ; and he was 
restrained from carrying it into execution only by the fear 
that he might not afterwards be as weU able to promote 
the glory of the Lord. 

We read of St. Catherine of Bologna, that when sue met 


i^ih any slight or insult^ she rejoiced at it^ and it only in« 
creased her desire for more. By this, she advanced so much 
in the love of God, that she would have been willing, bm 
she herself protested, to endure not only all the trials of 
this world, but even the pains of hell, to obey His will. 

St. Gr^ory relates of the Abbot Stephen, that he had 
conceived so great a love for insults, calumnies, and vexa- 
tions, that when he received any, he thought he had made 
great profit, and returned affectionate thanks to whoever 
gave ^em to him ; and by this he attained such reputation 
for sanctity, that whoever did him any harm felt sure that 
he had secured his friendship. 

80. Place thyself under the discipline of a stern and austere man, 
who will treat thee harshly and with rigor ; and then strive to drink 
in aU his reproofs and ill treatment as one would drink milk and 
honey ; and I assure thee that in a little time thou wilt find thyself 
on the pinnacle of perfection.— J.^^ Mbsea, 

It is related, in the Lives of the Fathers, that the Ab- 
bot John d^igentl> and affectionately served one of the old 
Fathers, who was ill, for a period of twelve years. Though 
this Father saw what severe and long fatigue the Abbot 
was enduring, he never gave him one gentle or amiable 
word, but always treated him with harshness. But when 
he was dying, he called for the Abbot, andj taking him by 
the hand, said to him three times, ^^ Abide in Grod !'' and 
then he recommended him to the Fathers, sajdng, '^ This is 
not a man, but an angel.'' 

81. As it IS most certain that the teaching of Christ cannot deceiye, 
if we would walk securely^ we ought to attach ourselves to it with 
the greatest confidence, and to profess openly that we live according 
to it, and not to the maxims of the world, which are all deceitful. 
This is the fundamental maxim of all Christian perfection.— 5^. V. 



This was, indeed, the ordinary choeen basis upon which 
this Saint himself established his own life, and in which he 
found all his confidence and peace. Whenever he felt that 
he was supported by a holy maxim, he went on courageously, 
passing over his own judgment and all human respect, or 
&ar that his conduct might meet with blame or opposition* 

St Frauds de Sales was often blamed by his fiiends, 
as they did not approve of his course in not sustaining his 
dignity and defending himself more vigorously against the 
attacks of the malevoloit. He replied to them that mild- 
ness ought to be the characteristic of bishops ; and so, al- 
though the world and self-love has established maxims of 
anotlier kind, he did not wish to make use of them, be- 
cause they were contrary to those of Jesus Christ, in con- 
formity to which he had always gloried. 



Whoever hunMeth himteHf, thaU be exaUedi-^Luke, xiT : 11 

1. Humility is the foundation of all the Tirtuet ; therefore, in a 
soul where it does not exist, there can be no true virtue, but the 
mere appearance only. In like manner, it is the most proper dis- 
position for all celestial gifts. And, fioally, it is so necessary to per* 
fection, that of all the ways to reach it, the first is humility ; the 
second, humility ; the third, humility. And if the question were 
repeated a hundred times, I should always give the same answer.— 
Bt. Auguetine. 

St. Vincent de Paul perceived that all his advancement 
and ahnost all the graces he had received^ were due to this 
virtue ; and for this reason he inculcated it so much^ and 
so greatly desired to introduce it into his Congr^ation. 

St Aloysius Gonzaga, who knew this truth well^ took 
no greater pains in a^squiring any other virtue. For this 
purpose^ he recited every day a special prayer to the angels, 
that they would aid him to walk in this royal road^ which 
they themselves had first trodden, that he might finally 
succeed in gaining the position of one of those stars that 
fell from heaven through pride. 

A certain man, named Pascaaius, said that for twenty 
years he had never asked anything of God except humility, 
and yet that he had but little of it. However, when no one 
was able to expel a devil from a possessed person, Pas- 
casius had scarcely entered the church before the devil 
cried out, ^^ This man I fear,^' and immediately departed. 


Fia Maffeo^ a companion of St. Francis^ onoe heard, in 
a conference on humility, that a great servant of Grod waa 
veiy remarkable for this virtue, and that on account of it 
Grod loaded him with spiritual gifts. He was thus inspired 
with so great a love for it, that he made a vow never to rest 
until he should perceive that he had acquired it. He re- 
joBiaed, then, shut up in his cell, asking of Grod true hu- 
mility, with tears, fastmg, mourning, and many prayers. 
One day, he went out in the woods, and while he was sigh- 
ing and asking this grace from Grod, with ejaculatory prayers, 
he heard the Lord saying to him, '^ Fra Maffeo, what would 
you give for humility V He answered, " I would give my 
qres P' " And I," replied the Lord, " desire that you should 
have your eyes, and the grace you seek.'' Suddenly there 
entered his heart a great joy, and at the same time he had 
the lowest possible opinion of himself, so that he con- 
sidered himself the least of all men. 

2. Humility is the mother of many virtues. From it spring obe- 
dience, holy fear, reverence, patience, modesty, mildness, and peace; 
for, whoever is humble easily obeys ail, fears to ojffend any, main- 
tains peace with all, shows himself affable to all. is submissive to all, 
does not offend or displease any, and does not feel the insults which 
may be inflicted upon him. He lives happy and contented, and in 
great peace. — 8t. Thomas of Villanoea, 

Here we see the reason why St. Francis, St. Dominic, 
St. Vincent de Paul, and so many others, became remark- 
able for all the virtues above mention ed. It is because 
they were remarkable for humility. 

St. Jane Frances de Chantal had conceived so much af- 
fection for this virtue, that she watched over herself with 
the greatest attention, in order that she might not allow 
even the smallest occasion of practising it to escape. And 
she once said to St. Francis de Sales, ^^ My dearest Father^ 


I b^ you, for the love of Grod^ help me to humble my- 

8. Whoever is not very humble, can never draw profit from con- 
templation, in which any little atom of insufficient humility, though 
it may seem nothing, works the greatest harm.— iS^. T$reia, 

One day, the Blessed Virgin prayed her most holy Son 
that He would bestow some spiritual gifts upon St. Bridget. 
But He gave her this reply : " Whoever seeks lofty things 
ought first to be exercised in the lowly, by the paths of hu- 
mility .^^ Because the blessed Clara of Montefidoo experi- 
ence a vain pleasure in some things she had done, the 
Lord withdrew from her, for fift^een years, His lights and 
celestial consolations, which she could not r^ain during 
all that time, though she begged for them earnestly, with 
tears, prayers, and the use of the discipline. 

4. Humility is necessary not only for the acquisition of virtues, 
but even for salvation. For the gate of heaven, as Christ Himself 
testifies, is so narrow that it admits only little ones. — 8t. Bernard 

The Pharisee was separated by his condition in liie trom 
the rest of the people, as this sect formed a kind of Relig- 
ious Order, in which they prayed, fasted, and performed 
many other good works ; but he was, notwithstanding, re- 
proved by Grod. Why, then, was this ? For no other 
reason than that he was wanting in humility ; for he felt 
much satisfaction in his good works, and gloried in them 
as if they were the result of his own virtue. 

William, Bishop of Lyons, tells, in his Chronicles, of a 
monk who oft^en violated the prescribed silence, but upon 
being admonished spiritually by his Abbot, he amended, 
and became so recollected and so devout, that he was wor- 
thy to receive from God many revelations. Now, it hap- 



pened that the Father Abbot was sent for by a hermit^ 
who, having reached the close of a virtuous life, desired to 
receive from him the last sacraments. The Abbot went, 
and took with him the silent monk. On the road^ a rob- 
ber, hearing the little bell, accompanied the Blessed Sacra- 
ment as &r as tixe cell of the dying man ; but he stopped 
outside, considering himself unworthy to enter the abode 
of a saint After the hermit had confessed and received 
C!ommunion wiili humility, the robber kept repeating at 
the door, ** Oh, Father, if I were but like you, oh, how 
happy should I be !'' The hermit hearing this, said in his 
heart, with presumption and complacency, ^^ You are right 
to desire this ; who can doubt it V^ and immediately ex- 
pired. Then the good Religious b^an to weep, and with- 
drew fix)m the Abbot. The robber followed them, with 
tears and hatred for his sins, and the fiill purpose of con- 
fessing and doing penance for them, as soon as they should 
arrive at the monastery. But he was not able to reach it, 
for on the way he fell unexpectedly to the ground and died. 
At this accideut, the Religious became joyous again and 
laughed ; and when the Abbot asked him why he had been 
sad at the death of the hermit, and joyful at that of the rob- 
ber, he replied : " Because the former is lost, in punish- 
ment for his presumption, and the latter saved, on account 
of his strong resolution to do fitting penance for his sins ; 
and the sorrow he felt for them was so great that it has 
cancelled even all their penalty.'' 

5. The most powerful weapon to conquer the deril, is humility. 
For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does h« 
know bow to defend himself from it.— iS!^. Vincent de PatU, 

When Macarius was returning, one day, to his cell, he 
met the devil^ who, witha scythe in his hand, tried to cut 


him in pieces. Bat he could not do it, because, as soon as 
he came near, he lost his strength. Then, full of rage, be 
said, ^^ Great misery do I suffer from thee, O Macarius ; 
for, though I wish so much to hurt thee, I am not able. It 
is strange I I do all that thou doest, and even more ; thou 
dost fust sometimes, and I never eat ; thou sleepest little, 
and I never close my eyes ; thou art chaste, and so am I. 
In one thuig only thou surpassest me.^^ '^ And what is that 
one thing 1" inquired Macarius. " It is thy great humility,'^ 
replied the demon. Saying this, he disappeared, and was 
seen no more. 

The devil once appeared to a monk in the form of the 
Archangel Gabriel, and .<^id that he was sent to him by 
Grod. The monk replied, " See that thou be not sent by 
another ?^ And the devil immediately disappeared. 

When an old priest was exorcising a possessed person, 
the demon said that he would never come out, if he did not 
first tell him what the goats and what the lambs were like. 
The good priest quickly answered : '^ The goats are all those 
who are like me. What the lambs may resemble, God 
knows.'' At these words, the devil cried out : " Through 
your hiunility I can no longer remain here,'' and imme- 
diately departed. 

6. PersoDB wbo keep themselves low in their own estimation, and 
love to be considered of little account and despised by others, please 
God in the highest degree ; and, therefore, He wUlingly lowers Him- 
self to them, pours upon them the treasures of His graces, reveals to 
them His secrets, invites and draws them sweetly to Himself. Thus, 
the more one lowers and abases himself before men, the more he 
rises and becomes great in the sight of Gk>d, and the more clearly he 
will, one day, behold the Divine Essence.— J.. Kempii. 

St. Gertrude, one day, hearing the little bell ring for Com- 
munion, and not feeling as well prepared as she desired. 


said to the Lord : '^ I see that Thou art even now coming 
to me ; but why hast Thou not first adorned my heart 
with some ornaments of devotion^ with which I might 
be more suitably prepared to come and meet Thee ?" But 
the Lord answered : " Know that sometimes I am more 
pleased with tixe virtue of humility than with exterior de- 

A Religious^ not being able to understand a passage of 
Holy Scripture^ &sted for seven weeks, and not understand- 
ing it then^ resolved to go to another monk and inquire 
about it. But scarcely had he gone out of his cell, when 
there appeared to him an angel sent expressly from Gkxl, 
who said to him : ** Thy &st has not rendered thee pleas- 
ing to Grod, but rather this humiliation of tliine f^ and then 
he solved for him the doubt. 

After Tais was converted, she held herself always so low 
in her own eyed, on account of her past evil life, that she 
did not dare to utter the holy name of Grod even in invok- 
ing Him, but only said, " My Creator, have mercy on me I" 
And by this humility she arrived at such a sublime degree 
of perfection, that when Paul the Simple saw a most beauti-' 
fill place in Paradise, which he supposed to be intended for 
St. Anthony, he was informed that it would be occupied by 
Tais within a fortnight. 

St. Bona venture said : " I know a thing to do, which 
will please the Lord. I will consider myself as refuse, I 
will become intolerable to myself. And when I find my- 
self shamed, degraded, trampled upon, and loaded with in- 
sults by others, I will rejoice and exult, because of myself I 
cannot abase or detest myself as much as I ought. I will 
call in help from all creatures, desiring to be confounded 
and punish^ by them all, because I have despised their 
Creator, This shall be my dearest treasure — ^to solicit 


suits and slights upon myself, to love above all others those 
who will help me in this, and to abhor all the consolation 
and honors of the present life. If I do this, I believe it 
certain that the treasury of Divine Mercy will open above 
me, miserable and unworthy as I am/' 

St. Francis of Assisi considered himself not only a mere 
nothing, the greatest sinner in the world, and deserving of 
hell, but unwcMihy even that God should give him a thought* 
One day, while he was speaking in this manner to one 
of his companions, the latter saw, in spirit, that there was 
prepared for him in heaven a seat among the Seraphim. 

7. One day of humble self-knowledge is a greater grace from the 
Lord, although it may have cost us many afflictions and trials, than 
many days of prajeT.St, Teresa. 

St Grertrude, once reflecting upon the benefits she had re- 
ceived from Grod, blushed for herself, and became so odious 
in her own eyes, that she seemed unworthy to remain in the 
sight of God, and she would gladly have found some nook, 
where she might conceal from man, if not from God, the 
odor of corruption with which she felt herself tainted. At 
this, Christ humbled Himself to her with so much goodness, 
that the whole celestial court stood amazed. 

The venerable Mother Seraphina di Dio received, one 
day, a spiritual light, by means of which (as she states in her 
account of it to her director) she perceived clearly that God, 
being by His nature luminous truth, can behold in Him- 
self only that which He really is, that is, infinite perfection, 
in which He rejoices and delights. Therefore, when He 
wishes to unite a soul to Himself, He communicates to it 
a light of truth, by which it sees, without error or deception, 
its own nature ; that is, that by itself it has never done 
any good, neither is it able to do any ; that in itself it has 


only inclination to evil^ and what good it has^ is altogether 
fix>m God. And such a person has no need of much con- 
sideration and analysis, because^ with such a light of truths 
all appears so clear, that to think otherwise, would be mere 
darkness and deceit. But though the soul, in this clear light, 
appears ugly, deformed, and odious in its own eyes, yet, in 
the eyes of Grod, it seems beautiful and very pleasing, be- 
cause it becomes like His own most true and luminous 
nature. It happened that this same servant of Grod, after 
leading an innocent and most perfect life, came at one time 
to know her imperfections with such clearness that they 
seemed to her to become very grave and frightful sins, so 
that she experienced great bitterness of spirit, and could ob- 
tain no peace ; when she was reproved for any failure, she 
was not at all disturbed, but said in her heart : ^' What you 
see, is nothing. Oh, if you saw all, how you would abhor 
me ! ^' But the Lord consoled her, by telling her, interiorly, 
that her past imperfections seemed to her so unusually great, 
because her soul was in a state of clear light, but that these 
deformities wer« no longer in existence, as He had already 
cancelled them by His blood. 

8. Hold thyself as vile ; rejoice to be so held by others ; never ex- 
alt thyself by reason of the gifts of God, — and thou sbalt be perfectly 
humble.— iSI^. Banaventure. 

A soul of precisely this type, was St. Mary Magdalen di 
Pazzi. It is recorded of her that she was so vile in her 
own eyes, that she constantly looked upon herself as the 
lowest of creatures, and the most disgraceful and abomin- 
able thing upon earth. Being, one day, called to the grate 
by the Duchess of Bracciano, she said, with great feeling, 
" If my lady Duchess knew that Sister Mary Magdalen is 
the abomination of this convent, she would not think of 


naming her, much less of sending for her/' In the same 
light in which she looked upon herself, she desired also to 
be viewed by others ; and when she was treated contempt- 
uously, or in any way humiliated, she rejoiced so much that 
in reward for the great gladness with which she received 
hiuniliations, she was often rapt in ecstasy after them. - For 
this reason, she could not bear to see that she was honored 
and esteemed, and that others had a good opinion of her ; 
and to prevent this, she would often accuse herself in pub- 
lic and in private of her smallest defects, even with exaggera- 
tion. And so, with things which were not really fiiults, 
she mentioned them in such a way as to make them seem 
grave &,ults. For example, in cutting up a pineapple, one 
day, she ate two morsels that fell from it. Therefore, she 
accused herself of gluttony, and of eating outside of the re- 
fectory, contrary to the Constitution. She took, besides, 
all possible pains to conceal from others her virtues and 
holy works, and when she could not do this, she would try 
to depreciate them, by showing that they were ftiU of de- 
fects ; in this way she would make the most perfect actions 
seem worthy of reproof, or, at least, merely natural, and 
springing from her own inclination. And as slie could 
neither prevent nor conceal the ecstasies which were 
granted to her, it displeased her exceedingly to be looked 
at, or listened to, while they lasted, even to such a degree 
that she once complained to the Lord, saying : " O my 
Jesus I how is it that Thou hast conferred upon me so much 
that is known only to Thee and myself, and now Thou 
wilt have me reveal it ? Hast Thou not promised me that 
as Thou wast hidden, so should I also be?'' Once whtn 
her confessor ordered her to report to her companions what 
happened to her in these ecstasies, she wept bitterly, as she 
did also in making the relation, so that, finally, she went so 


fiur as to entreat tixe Lord to make her no more communi- 
cations of the kind. She was so fiur from drawing any 
complacency or self-esteem from tliis source^ that, as if she 
had committed a fitult^ she would humble herself after tliese 
favors^ evea to the last novice or lay-sister^ and set herself 
to perform the daily exercises with ihem^ and converse 
with them with so much humility and charity, that it was 
an admirable thing to see and hear her, first holding com- 
munion with the Divine Majesty with such loftiness of 
ideas, and then, immediately aftier, to behold her so humble, 
dt'pendent, and submissive to her neighbors. 

9. Hamilitj, which Christ recommeDded to us both by word and 
example, ought to include three coDditions. First, we are to con- 
sider ourselves, in all sincerity, worthy of the contempt of men ; sec- 
ondly, to be G;lad that others should see what is imperfect in us and 
what might cause them to despise us ; thirdly, when the Lord works 
"ny good in us or by our means, to conceal it, if possible, at the sight 
of our baseness, and if this cannot be done, to ascribe it to the 
Divine Mercy, and to the merits of others. Whoever shall attain to 
this humility, happy is he | and to him who shall not attain it, 
griefs will never be wanting. — St, V. de Paul 

The first condition was certainly to be found in the 
heart of St. Clare, who used to say to her companions : 
" Oh, Sisters, if you knew me well, you would abhor and 
avoid me, like one stricken with the plague, because I am 
not what you believe me, but a wicked woman." The ven- 
erable Sister Maria Crucifixa, who considered herself the 
vilest creature upon earth, often spoke thus of herself to 
her companions, and with feelings of such sincere and per- 
fect humiliation as excited her to a high degree of com- 
punction. This even led her to ask leave to retire to a 
convent of Penitents, which she said was a fitting place 
for her, as she ought to live the life of a penitent. St. 
Francis Borgia, too, was so deeply grounded in a low opin- 


ion of himself^ that he wondered how the people could 
salutei and not rather stone him^ as be passed through the 

The second condition was also possessed^ in a high degree^ 
by St. Clare. She revealed the greatest &ult8 of her life 
to all her confessors, intending that they should conceive a 
bad opinion of her ; but when she found this plan fidled, she 
changed her confessors often, in the hope of finding one who 
would consider her the wretched creature that she really 
believed herself to be. St Catherine of Bologna, likewise, not 
only told all her sins to her confessors, but even intentionally 
dropped the paper on which they were written, that she 
might be despised by all. St. John of the Cross, too, when 
he went to Granada, where he was sent as Provincial Vicar, 
happened to meet there a brother of his, who was so poor 
that he lived by alms. When he saw him with his cloak 
all torn, he was as much pleased as another would have 
been to see his brother in a rich dress ; and when the Grand 
Duke came to visit him, he brought him forward, saying that 
was his brother, who was working in the monastery. The 
third condition was possessed, in the highest d^ree, by St. 
Mary Magdalen di Pazzi, who, when asked or commanded 
by her Superior to make the sign of the cross over the sick, 
or to offer a prayer for any one in need, always called another 
to join her in this action or prayer, so that when the favor 
came, it might be attributed not to her, but to the virtue of 
the other, as she always attributed it herself. The same 
may be said of an Abbess named Sara, of whom it is related, 
in the Lives of the Fathers, that she had been assailed by 
a demon for thirteen years, but was finally liberated by her 
fervent prayers. Then the demon said to her, " Thou hast 
conquered me, Sara P^ But she replied, " It is not I who 
have conquered thee, but truly it is my Lord Jesus Christ«'' 

PEBBtJARY. — ^HUMILiry. 65 

Monseigneur de Palafox showed that he possessed in 
a singular d^ree this beautiful quality of attributing 
to God all the good he did. For he looked upon his 
good actions not as his own choice^ but as pure effects of 
grace ; and so^ instead of believing^ as people in general do^ 
that he acquired by them merit before Grod^ he believed that 
his obligations to God were increased by doing them. 
And as he thought^ so he spoke ; for he was accustomed to 
confess himself to be under the greatest obligations to God, 
because He had bestowed upon him great peace of mmd, 
constant repentance for his sins^ great patience and con- 
solation in vexations and labors^ great love and respect for 
the poor and for his persecutors, and had taken from him 
all attachment to riches, honors, convenience, and his own 
judgment, and had also given him the grace to perform with 
fervor penances, the visitation of the sick, and many prac- 
tices of devotion, as well as strength and talent to make 
wise and useful regulations, to build many churches, and 
to accomplish every one of his actions purely and solely for 
the honor and service of His Divine Majesty. And what is 
certainly most to be admired is, that he derived only con- 
fusion and fear from so many good and holy works, which 
ordinarily produce, even in excellent persons, a certain good 
opinion and esteem of themselves, and make them believe 
themselves deserving of praise from men and reward from 
God. He looked upon them, on the contrary, as special 
graces granted to him by the Divine Goodness, for which he 
must, one day, give a strict account, and he thought that 
on the last day, in presence of all the world, they would be 
so many points of accusation against him, because be nad 
not corresponded to so many divine &vors by a better and 
more perfect life. 

The humility of St. Vincent de Paul was accompanied 

66 Jl VBAB VtVUR tH£ SAIKta. 

by all three of these conditions. He had so low an opin- 
ion of himself that he considered himself a great sinner, 
a cause of scandal, and unworthy to remain even in his 
own Congr^tion. Wherefore, he often spoke of himself 
as a hardened sinner, an abominable sinner, unworthy to live, 
and standing in the utmost need of the mercy of God on ac- 
count of the abominations of Iiis life. One day, prostrate 
before his missionaries, he said, with great feeling : " If you 
could see my miseries, you would drive me from the house, 
to which I am a loss, a burden, and a scandal. I am surely 
unworthy to remain in the Congregation, on account of the 
scandal that I give.'^ Because he truly felt thus, he de- 
sired that others, too, should feel so ; and, therefore, he was 
pleased to have his imperfections visible to all, and he even 
manifested them openly on occasions, to the end that he 
might be despised and lightly r^arded by all. For this 
reason, he often said that he was the son of a swineherd, a 
poor grammar-student, and no scholar. For the same 
cause, he acknowledged as his nephew, before all in the 
house, and even before some noble visitors, a poor young 
man who had come to ask his aid. And as he felt at first 
some unwillingness to acknowledge him when he heard 
of his arrival, he oft^en accused himself of this to his com- 
panions as a great fitult, exaggerating, too, the pride that 
caused it. He could not bear to hear himself praised, or 
see himself held in high esteem ; and so, when a poor 
woman told him, in presence of some persons of rank, 
that she had been a servant of his mother, hoping to induce 
him to give her alms, the Saint, to whom such flattery was 
unpleasant, answered quickly : " My poor woman, you are 
mistaken. My mother never kept a servant, but she was a 
servant herself, and afterwards, the wife of a poor peasant.'' 
For this cause, too, lie was never heard to speak of the ex- 


oellent works which he had carried on^ nor of the wonder- 
ful circumstances iu which he had been placed. A remarka- 
ble proof of this iS; that though innumerable occasions offered 
themselves to speak of his slavery in Tuuis, especially in the 
exhortations which he addressed to his Congr^ation and 
others^ to move them to aid the poor slaves in Barbary^ he 
never let fall a word concerning himself^ nor about what he 
had said or done to convert his master, and escape with 
him from the hands of the Infidels, nor as to anything else 
that happened to hun in that country. 

This is a rare case, on account of the pleasure which 
every one naturally feels in narrating the perils, the dan- 
gers and difficulties from which he has happily escaped, 
especially when his success reveals some virtue, and gives 
occasion for praise. But when necessity, or the good of 
others, sometimes constrained him to tell something which 
he had done for the glory of God, if anything had gone ill, 
he attributed to himself whatever might cause humiliation, 
though he had given no occasion for it ; but if all went well, 
he told of it in very humble terms, setting all to the ac- 
count of the zeal and labor of others, and suppressing, so 
fiir as he could, those circumstances which would bring 
praise to himself; and he always ascribed even the .^lightest 
good that he did to God, as its primary and only cause. For 
example, he never said, " I did this ; I said this ; I thought 
of this ;" but rather, " God inspired me with this thought ; 
put into my mouth these words ; gave me strength to do 
this ;" and so on. The humility of St. Francis de Sales was, 
says St. Jane Frances de Chantal, humility of heart. For 
it was his maxim, that the love of our abjection ought to be 
with us at every step ; and, therefore, he strove to conceal the 
gifts of grace as much as he could, and endeavored to ap- 
pear of less account than he really was, so that he was often 


slow and late in giving his opinion upon subjects witb which 
he was well acquainted. 

10. We ought always to consider others as our superiors, and to 
yield to them, even though they be our inferiors, by offering them 
every kind of respect and service. Oh, what a beautiful thing it 
would be, if it should please Qod to coufirm us well in such a prac- 
tice.—^. F. de Paul. 

This was precisely the practice of this Saint. He made 
great account of all^ and considered all better than him- 
self, more prudent^ more perfect, more capable, and more 
fit for any employment, and therefore he felt no difficulty 
in yielding his own opinion to any one. We read of a 
good nun, named Sister Rachel Pastore, who had formed 
such an humble opinion of herself, that she r^arded all per- 
sons, without exception, as her superiors, and with this sen- 
ntiment deeply fixed in her heart, she abased and hum- 
bled herself in the presence of all. 

il. Our Lord says that whoever wishes to become greatest of all, 
must make himself least of all. This is a truth that all Christians 
believe ; how happens it, then, that so few practise iil^St. V. de 

The same Saint was one of these few. As he had always 
but a low opinion of himself, and had taken so much pains 
to lower hiikiself beneath all, God continually exalted him, 
by the many great works which He entrusted to him, by 
the high r^ard in which he was generally held, and by 
the abundant benedictions which God bestowed on all his 

St. Paula, by the testimony of St. Jerome, excelled so 
much in self-abasement, that if a stranger attracted by her 
£une had come to visit her, he would never have recog- 

nijced her, but would rather h^^v^ supposed her to be one 


of the least of her own servants. And when she was sur- 
louuded by bands of young maidens, — in dress, speech, and 
manner, she always seem^ the humblest of them alL 

12. Do not believe that thou hast made any advance in perfection, 
anleas thou considerest thyself the worst of all, and desirest that all 
should be preferred to thee ; for it is the mark of those who are 
great in the eyes of God, to be small in their own eyes ; and the 
more glorious they are in the sight of God, the more vile they ap- 
pear in their own sight.— i8!(. I^nrua. 

One day, when St. Anthony was praying, he heard a 
voice sapng, " Anthony, thou hast not reached the perfec- 
tion of a man named Coriarius, who lives in Alexandria.'' 
The Saint went immediately to find him, and inquired 
about his life. Coriarius answered : '' I do not know that I 
have ever done anything good, and so, when I rise in the 
morning, I say in my heart that all the people in this city 
will be saved by their good works, and I alone shall be 
lost for my sins ; and I say the same thing in the evening, 
in all sincerity, before going to rest." " No ! no I no !" re- 
plied St. Anthony, " thou hast secured heaven for thyself by 
thy wise practice ; but I have unwisely failed to attain this 
excelleuce of thine." 

In the Lives of the Fathers, a certain monk is mentioned, 
who, in giving an account of his interior to the Abbot SisoiS| 
said that he kept continually before his mind the thought of 
God. The Abbot answered : " That is nothing great. The 
great thing would be that you should see yourself below 
every creature." 

One of the chief men of Alexandria having been received 
into a monastery, the Abbot judged, from his appearance 
and other signs, that he was a hard man, haughty, and inflat- 
ed with worldly pride. Wishing to lead him by the safe road 


of humility^ he placed him in the porter's lodge^ with in- 
structions to throw himself at the feet of all who passed in 
or out^ and to beg them to pray to God for him, because he 
was a great sinner. He obeyed with exactness, and per- 
severed in this exercise for seven years, acquiring thereby 
great humility. The Abbot then thought it time to give 
him the habit, and admit him to the society of the other 
members of the Order. But when he heard of this, he im- 
plored and entreated to be left as he was for the short time, 
which, as he said, remained to him of life. His request was 
granted, and he proved to be a true prophet, foi', after ten 
days he died, in great peace and confidence in regard to his 
salvation. This is related by St. John Climacus, who says 
that he had spoken with this man, and when he inquired 
how he occupied himself in all that time when he was re- 
maining at the gate, he replied : ^^ My constant exercise was 
to consider myself unworthy to stay in the monastery, and 
to enjoy the sight and company of the Fathers, or even to 
raise my eyes to look at them.'' 

We read of the venerable Maria Seraphina di Dio that 
she seemed to have no eyes except to see and exa^rgerate her 
own defects, and to adndre the Lues of otherSo, when 
she saw others performing any good action, she would say, 
with feeling : " How happy they are ! All, except me, attend 
to the service of God I" When she saw any going to the 
confessors, she thought they would only have to hear and 
speak of God, while she reproached herself that she went 
solely to tell her errors and sins. If she ever saw any one 
commit a £mlt, she always found means to excuse or palli- 
ate it, and thus, she was able, in spite of the sins of others, 
to retain the opinion which she held of herself as being the 
worst of all. 

18. When on« is very remarkable for Tirtue, aad truly grt»i heton 


Qod, and favored and esteemed by Him, yet, with all this, remains lit- 
tle and Tile in his own eyes, — here is that humility so grateful to God 
and so rare among men, which was found most perfect in the Blessed 
Virgin, who, on hearing herself chosen to be the mother of God, 
acknowledged herself to be a servant and handmaiden.— /S^ Bernard, 

St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi was an admirable example 
of this. Though she had arrived at high perfection and 
sanctity^ and saw herself enriched by Gk)d with extraordi- 
nary graces and favors, even to the power of working mira- 
cles, yet, with all this, she had so low an esteem and so poor an 
opinion of herself as to astonish those who knew her. Nor 
was this a matter of pure imagination or of mere words, but 
true and sincere, and was clearly shown by an ecstasy, in 
which the Lord showed her the strength and virtue He in- 
tended to communicate to her against the fierce temptations 
she had endured from the devil, and she broke forth with 
these words : " What confusion for me ! that upon the lowest 
and vilest creature upon earth, as I am, Thou designest to 
bestow the immensity of the treasures of Thy liberality and 
mercy !" 

It was the same with St. Vincent de Paul. Though his 
virtues were known to all, in spite of the contrivances that 
he used to conceal them, yet, to him alone they remained 
unknown ; because, by putting his own baseness continually 
before his eyes, he cut off the view of them ; so that, al- 
though he was rich and abounding in virtues an 1 celestial 
gifts, he always esteemed himself poor, needy, and desti- 
tute of all spiritual good. Thence came the title that he 
usually gave himself, — " This poor wretch." 

When St. Teresa reflected upon the favors slie received 
fix)m God in such great abundance, she humbled herself 
the more on account of them, saying that the Lord sus- 
tained her extreme weakness in this way, and that these 


supports proved how great was her tendency to fidl^ as a 
house is shown to be tottering^ by the props set up to hold 

14. Vsin self-complacency and the desire of making a show of 
being spoken of, of having our conduct praised, and of hearing it said 
that we succeed well and are doing wonders.^this is an evil which 
makes us forget Gk>d, which infects our holiest actions, and is, 
of all Yices, the most injurious to progress in the spiritual life. I 
do not understand how any one can believe and hold it as a truth of 
faith, that he who exalts himself shall be abased, if he desires to pass 
for a man of worth, a person of prudence, foresight, and ability.— 
6t. F. de Paul 

The widely-known Franciscan, Brother Justin, entered 
the Order of St. Francis, after refusing great favors and 
most hoiiorable offices, which the King of Hungary offered 
him. He then advanced so &r in religion, that he had 
frequent ecstasies. One day, while dininfi^ at the table 
ra» ..^ry. b. ™ »i^ in U>e «r, 2 erne* .w 
the heads of the Beligious, to pray before a picture of the 
Virgin, which was painted high on the wall. On account of 
this wonder. Pope Eugenius lY sent for him and embraced 
him, not allowing him to kiss his feet ; then, seating him 
by his side, he had a long conversation with him, and gave 
him many presents and indulgences. This favor made 
him vain, and St. John Capestran meeting him on his re- 
turn, said : ^^ Alas I thou didst go forth an angel, and thou 
art come back a demon I" In fact, increasing eveiy day 
in insolence, he killed a monk with a knife. Aft^r a term 
of imprisonment, he escaped into the kingdom of Naples^ 
where he committed many crimes, and finally died in 

A holy monk once passed a night in a convent of nuoa, 
where there was a boy continually tormented by a deviL 


Tluough all that night the diild remained undisturbed^ and 
lOj in the mornings the monk was requested to take him home 
to his monastery^ and keep him until the cure was com- 
plete. He^d this^ and then^ as nothing more happened 
to die boy^ he said to the other monks, with some compla- 
omcy : ^' Thedevil made light of those nuns in tormenting 
ihiB hoy ; but since he has come into this monastery of God's 
aervauts, he has no longer dared to approach him.'' No 
looner bad he said this than the boy, in the presence of 
th^n all, b^an to suffer as he had previously, and the 
monk bewailed his error. 

Another monk once boasted, in presence of his abbot, 
St Paoomius, that he had made two mats in one day, when 
die Saint reproved him, and ordered him to carry the two 
mats on his shoulders before the other monks, and ask the 
pardon and prayers of all, because he had valued these 
two mats more than the kingdom of heaven. He also com- 
manded him to remain five months in his cell without ever 
allowing himself to be seen, and to make two mats a day 
for all that time. 

From his earliest years, St. Thomas of Aquin was alwajrs 
opposed to receiviog praise, and he never utten d a word 
which might lead to it. Therefore, he never felt any tempta- 
tion to vanity or self-complacency, as he himself testified to 
Brother B^inald, saying he rendered thanks to Grod that 
he had never been tempted by pride. 

St. Vincent de Paul made this resolution to close the 
path against 8elf-<K)mplacency : '^ When I am performing 
some public action, and may complete it with honor, I will 
perform it indeed, but I will omit those details which might 
give it lustre or attract notice to myself. Of two thoughts 
which come into my mind, I will manifest the lower, to 
humble myself^ and I will keep bs^k the higher, to make 


in my heart a sacrifice of it to Qod ; for it is at times expedi- 
ent to do a thing less well outwardly, rather than to be 
pleased with ourselves for having done it well, and to be 
applaudedand esteemed for it; anditisatruthof tIieGh)spel 
that nothing pleases the Lord so much as humility of heart 
and simplicity of word and deed. It is here that His spirit 
resides, and it is in vain to seek it elsewhere/^ This resolu- 
tion he observed carefully. One day, when travelling with 
three of his priests, he told them, by way of diversion, an 
adventure which had once happened to him. But in the 
midst of his story he stopped short, striking his breast, and 
saying that he was a wretch, full of pride, and always talk- 
ing of himself. When he reached home, prostrating him- 
self before them, he asked pardon for the scandal he had 
given them by talking about himself. 

15. What is it, O my Qod, that we expect to gain hy appear* 
ing well before creatures, and by pleasing them ? What does it mat- 
ter to us if we are blamed by them, and considered worthless, 
provided we are great and faultless before Thee ? Ah, we never come 
fully to an understanding of this truth, and so we never succeed in 
standing upon the summit of perfection ! The Saints had no greater 
pleasure than to live unknown and abject in the hearts of all. — 8t. 

A holy bishop, in order to live unknown, left his diocese, 
and putting on a poor dress, went secretly to Jerusalem, 
where he worked as a laborer. There a nobleman saw 
him several times sleeping on the ground, with a column 
of fire rising from his body even to the heavens. Wonder- 
ing at this, he asked him privately who he was. He an- 
swered he was a poor man who lived by his work, and had no 
other means of support. The count, not satisfied with thiQ, 
urged him to reveal the whole truth, and the bishop, after 
exacting a promise of secrecy during his life-time, told him 


> wbo hewaSy and how he had left his country to escape from 
lenown and esteem, as he held it to be unworthy of a Chris- 
tian, who ought always to have in mind the insults and re- 

' pioaches heaped upon his Lord, to enjoy the honor and 
reverence of men. 

St. Nicholas of Bari twice threw money secretly, by night, 
into the house of a gentleman of ruined fortune, that he 
might be able to give dowries to his daughters, without 
which they could not be married. On a third visit for 
the «ame purpose, he was discovered, and hastily fled. 

The Abbot Pitirus, a man celebrated for sanctity, desired 
to know whether there was in the world any soul more per- 
fect than his own, that he might be able to learn from such 
a one how to serve Gkxi better. Then an angel appeared 
to him, and said : '^ Gro to a certain convent in the Thebaid. 
Four hundred and ninety nuns dwell there, among them 
one called Isidora, who wears a diadem upon her head. 
Know that she is very far more perfect than thyself." 
' Isidora was a good young girl, who had set her heart upon 
' abasing herself for Christ's sake as much as she could. So 
she wore a rag twisted around her head, went bare- 
foot, remained always alone, except when she was obliged 
to be present at the common exercises ; she did not eat 
with the others, but collected for her own food the scraps 
they had left ; and for drink she used the water in which 
the dishes had been washed : so that all the rest looked on 
her with so much aversion, that no one could have been in- 
duced ever to eat with her. She was, in feet, the jest and 
scorn of all, and by all insulted, ill-treated, and looked upon 
as a fool. She, however, never spoke ill of any, harmed no 
one, never murmured nor complained of any ill-treatment 
ahe received. Pitirus then arrived at the convent, and, 
after requesting the Abbess to send all the nuns to the grate, 


he could disoover upon none of them the sign given by th^ 
Angel^ so that he confidently asserted that they were noi^ 
all there. ^^ Indeed/' they answered^ ^^ no one is absent^ 
except a fool^ who always stays shut up in the kitchen.'^ 
"Well, send for her/' he replied. But she, who had| 
known interiorly what was to happen, had hidden her^ 
self that she might escape all connection with the mat-: 
ter. Being found after a long search, and earnestly en* -■ 
treated by her Superior, she, at last, came. Pitirus reoog^ 
nized her as soon as he beheld her, and instantly falling at- 
her feet, recommended himself to her prayers. Astonished, 
at such an action, the nuns said to him, " Father, you are 
mistaken ; this is a fool.'' " You are the fools," replied tha 
Abbot. " Know that she is holier than myself or you !" 
Then they all threw themselves at her feet, confessed their 
error, and asked pardon for the wrong they had done her. 
But she could not bear to receive so much honor, so thafe 
she fled from the house a few days after, and was never 
again seen. 

The Empress Leonora, having discovered that her con* 
fessor, in response to many requeste, had written out some of; 
her heroic and virtuous actions, that they might be pub- 
lished aft^r her death, went many times to visit him in his ^ 
last illness. On one of these occasions, she came fix>m his^ 
room with a bundle of manuscripts, and when she reached^ 
the court-yard where a fire was burning, she threw them ! 
into it. It was commonly believed that these were ihe^ 
papers relating to herself, which she had obtained from him 
by many entreaties, for, after his death no such record was '; 
found among his writings, though it was known to have ex^' ^ 
isted. But in another matter she did not succeed so well, ' 
though she made every efibrt. When very near death, she ' 
remembered a ceilain chest in which she kept the treasure of ' 


lier instnuneiits of penanoe. She had not previously been 
able to take them out herself^ and now she could do nothing, 
as her speedi had fidled. And so^ in great distress^ she made 
signs to her confessor^ pointing to the spot^ and urging him 
to take out and carry away what was there. But ihe Lord, 
who exalts the humble^ did not permit these signs to be 
folly understood^ until after her death^ when this hidden 
i tieasure was revealed. All were moved to tears as they 
I drew outgarments stained with blood; scourges — some^blood- 
^ itained ; others^ frayed and worn with long use ; — ^many 
" little chains with sharp points^ and shirts woven of horse- 
* hair, — all instruments with wliich she had macerated her in- 
< nooent flesh. 

16. When you see any one who desires esteem and honors and 
ivoids contempt, and who, when contradicted or neglected, shows 
nsentment and takes it iU,— you may be sure that such a one, though 
lie were to perform miracles, is very far from perfection, for all his 
lirtue is without foundation.—^. Thomas Aquinas, 

That the Angelic Doctor held this belief truly before 
Gk)d, is certain, for his conduct proves it. Not only did 
he not desire honors and applause but he abhorred them, 
and avoided them as far as he could. He was offered the 
Archbishopric of Naples by Clement IV, at a time when 
his fiunily, being out of &vor with the Emperor, had fallen 
into great poverty. He was, therefore, earnestly entreated 
by them, as well as by others, to accept it. However, he not 
only re&sed it but obtained from the same Pope a promise 
that no dignity should ever be offered him for the Aiture. 
Besides, he entreated his Superiors not to compel him to 
take the degree of Doctor, as he greatly preferred being 
learned to being called so ; and if he finally took it, it 
was purely from obedience. But instead of avoiding con- 
tempt^ he always accepted it with a tranquil soul and a 


serene countenanoe. When he was a student, he did not 
disdain to receive as monitor a fellow-student, who, find- 
ing that he talked but little, attributed it to ignorance and 
\frant of talent, and called him '^ the dumb ox." But 
he was soon undeceived, when he saw that he had so much 
talent that he could easily serve not only as a monitor but 
even as a master to himself. One day, when the Saint was 
reading aloud in the refectory at dinner, he was corrected for 
mispronouncing a word, and though he knew that he 
had pronounced it properly, he, nevertheless, repeated it in 
the way he was told. Being afterwards asked by his com- 
panions why he had done so, " Because," lie replied, " it 
matters little whether we pronounce a syllable long or short, 
but it matters very much to be humble and obedient." 

Saint Clare once said : " If I should see myself honored 
by all the world, it would not arouse in me the slightest van- 
ity ; and if I should see myself contemned and despised by 
all the world, I should not feel the least perturbation." 

St. Philip Neri never seemed grieved or displeased at any 
insult or contempt he might receive. This was a trait so 
visible and so well known among his associates, that they 
used to say, " Anything can be said to Father Philip, for 
nothing ever troubles him." When it was, one day, reported 
to him that some people had called him an old simpleton, 
he laughed and was much pleased at it. 

St. Anthony, hearing a monk very much praised, treated 
him contemptuously ; and when he saw that he took this ill, 
he said : ^^ This man is like a palace, rich and el^ant with- 
out, but within, plundered by robbers." 

17. I am despised and derided, and I resent it ; just so do peacocks 
and apes. I am despised and derided, and I rejoice at it ; thus did 
the Apostle. This is the deepest grade of humility, to be pleased 
with humiliation and abjection, as vain minds are pleased with greal 


bonon ; and to flnd pain in marks of honor and esteem, as they ilud 
ttin contempt and affronts.— /St. F. de Sales, 

St. Dominic remained more willingly in the diocese of 
Carcassone than in that of Toulouse^ where he had converted 
80 many heretics. On being asked his reason, he replied 
that in the latter he received many honors^ but in the former 
only injuries and insults. 

St. Felix the Capuchin experienced great affliction in see- 
ing himself honored and esteemed ; and he was often heard 
to say that he would have been glad to be frightfully de- 
formed^ that all might abhor him. He repeated many times 
that it would have been more agreeable to him to have been 
dragged and scourged through the streets of Rome, than to 
have been reverenced by the people. 

St. Constantius, when he had taken minor orders, served 

in a church near Ancona, where he lived so much apart 

\ from the world, that he had a wide-spread reputation for 

I sanctity, and people came from different countries to see 

him. Among others, came a peasant, and inquired for him. 

The Saint was standing upon a ladder, trimming the lamps ; 

but as he was of a small and delicate figure, the peasant, 

i on looking at him, was sorry that he had made the jour- 

' ney, as it seemed to him, for nothing, and ridiculing him 

; m his heart, said to himself, but aloud: ^^I supposed 

' this would be a great man ; but for anything that I can 

see, he has not even the shape of a man." Constantius, 

hearing this, instantly left the lamp, and coming down with 

great haste and gladness, ran up to the rustic and embraced 

him, saying, " You, alone, out of so many, have your eyes 

open and have been able to recognize me as I am." 

The venerable Sister Maria Crucifixa disliked nothing 
BO much as to hear herself praised, so that when she found 
others had a good opinion of her^ she could not xe£mxi itom 


weeping. She was most unwilling that her supernatural 
favors should come to the knowledge of others. Therefore, 
when she had ecstasies, the nuns all left her at the first 
sign of returning to herself, to avoid wounding her feel- 
ings. Only her own sister remained with her, who gave 
her to understand that she looked upon these trances only as 
&inting-fits, caused by weakness, for which she pitied her 
and offered her remedies. But all this was not enough ; so 
great was her abhorrence of self-esteem, that she believed 
the love of God to be inseparable from the plausible con- 
ceit of being considered a saint. She, therefore, went so 
&r as to make this prayer : " O Lord ! I wish to obey Thee ; 
I wish, at Thy touch, to spring up towards heaven ; but 
Thy way harbors a horrible monster, human esteem, which 
is for me an insufferable danger; for no one can love 
Thee without gaining high reputation. I would wish 
to walk always in Thy way, and this alone is bitter to me, 
nor do I find any obstacles interposed by hell but this. 
So I remain here waiting until Thou shalt either slay this 
monster, or change my path." 

18. I pray you, do not make much accouDt of cerlaia trifles which 
some caU wrongs and grievances ; for we seem to manufacture these 
things out of straws, like children, with our points of honor. A 
truly humble person neyer believes that he can be wronged in any- 
thing. Truly, we ought to be ashamed to resent whatever is said or 
done against us ; for it is the greatest shame in rhe world to see that 
our Creator bears so many insults from His creaiures, and that we 
resent even a little word that is contradictory. Let contemplative 
souls, in particular, take notice, that if they do not find themselves 
quite resolved to pardon any injury or affront which may be in- 
flicted upon them, they cannot trust much to their prayer. For the 
•oul which God truly unites to Himself by so lofty a method of prayer, 
feels none of these things, and no longer cares whether she is es- 
teemed or not, or whether she is spoken well of or ill ; nay rather 
honors and repose give her more oain than dishonor and trials.— iSI^, 


If St. Francis de Sales saw that his friends showed dis- 
pleasure at the malignity of those who spoke ill of him^ he 
would say to them : ^^ Have I ever given you authority to 
show resentment in my place ? Let them talk ! This is a 
cross of words^ a tribulation of wind^ the memory of which 
dies out with the blaze ! He must be very delicate^ that 
cannot bear the buzzing of a fly. Would it be well for us 
to pretend to be blameless ? Who knows if these people do 
not see my &ults better than I myself do; and if they are 
not the ones who truly love me ? Often we call a thing evil- 
speaking, because it is not to our taste. What injury is it 
if one has a bad opinion of us^ since we ought to have the 
same of ourselves ? *' 

The venerable Maria Crucifixa showed extreme pleasure 
when she saw herself little r^arded or esteemed. There- 
fore the nuns^ to accommodate themselves to her disposition^ 
usually treated her with disrespect^ and made little account 
of her, calling her awkward, stupid, and ignorant. So, 
when they wished to lead her into spiritual conversation, 
by which their fervor was greatly increased, they said to 
her : " Come now, Sister Maria Crucifixa, bring out some 
of your blunders ; let us hear your nonsense/' Then believ- 
ing that she was truly to serve as the butt of their jesting, 
she would readily begin to speak. But it was still necessary 
that they should appear to disregard what she was saying, 
by seeming inattentive, and whispering together now and 
then while she was speaking ; otherwise, she would stop. 
And, for the same reason, they could none of them recom- 
mend themselves to her prayers, because this seemed to her 
a proof that they considered her fit to intercede for them with 
Grod. So, in order to obtain her prayers, they would tell 
her that she was known to be such a miserable creature, that 
the others were obliged to recommend her to God, and there- 


ibrey not to be ungrateful, she ought to do as much for them* 

19. Whoever is humble, on being humiliated, humbles himself the 
more ; on being rejected, rejoices in the disgrace ; on being placed 
in low and mean occupations, acknowledges himself to be more hon- 
ored than be deserves, and performs tbem willingly ; and only abhon 
and avoids exalted and honorable otELcea,— 8t, J. F, ds OhanUU. 

A young knight^ in a transport of boyish rage, once told 
St. Vincent de Paul that he was an old fool. Thereupon, 
the Saint instantly threw himself at his feet, and asked par- 
don for the occasion he had perhaps given him to use such 
words. A Jansenisty who had tried to instil his fidse doc- 
trines into the same Saint, at last grew angry at his failure, 
and loaded him with abuse, saying, among other things, 
that he was an ignorant fellow, and he was astonished that 
his Congr^ation could endure him as Superior GreneraL 
To which he replied : ^^ I am still more astonished at it 
myself, for I am more ignorant than you can possibly im- 

Some monks who had heard of the great fame of the 
Abbot Agatho, resolved to test his virtue. Accordingly, 
they went to him and said that many were disedified by 
him, because he was proud, sensual, given to complaint, and, 
moreover, covered his own defects by laying them to others. 
He replied that he, indeed, had all these vices, and, pros- 
trate at their feet, he entreated them to recommend him to 
God, and obtain for him the pardon of so many sins. They 
departed with great astonishment and edification. 

When the Abbot Moses was ordained priest, his bishop 
ordered the clergy to drive him contemptuously away 
when he should approach the altar, and to listen to what he 
would say. They did so, saying to him, " Gro away, wicked 
heathen !" But he humbly withdrew, saying to himself: 
^^ This is suitable for thee, wicked wretch, who, though un- 


woriihy to be called a man^ hast presumed to dwell among 

On account of the singularity of her life^ St. Rose of Lima 
was often reproached and abused by her mother and broth- 
ers. But so great was her humility that she always thought 
she deserved worse treatment, and therefore never even ex- 
cused herself^ but rather amplified and added to what she 
had done^ that they might not seem to be wrong in punish- 
ing her ; and all this afforded her the greatest happiness. 

St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi willingly occupied herself 
in laborious tasks ; and the lower and meaner they were^ with 
the more pleasure and readiness did she accomplish them. 
The same thing was done by St. Aloysius Gonzaga 

Wliat efforts were made by many great men, especially 
in the ecclesiastical state, to avoid being raised to lofty 
positious ! St. Philip Benizi, hearing that the cardinals, 
immediately after the death of the Pope, wished to elect 
him as his successor, concealed himself on a mountain until 
the election of another had taken place. 

St. Gr^ory the Gr<at, after being elected Supreme Pon- 
tiff, escaped by stealth, and hid himself in a grotto. After 
being discovered there, by means of a column of fire, which 
appeared above the cave, he was forced to accept the dignity ; 
but he still entreated the Emperor Maurice, though without 
success, not to confirm his election. St. Ambrose, being 
miraculously chosen Bishop of Milan by the mouth of an 
in&nt too young to speak, fled from his house by night, 
and even did many things to make the people believe him a 
man of evil life. 

St. John Chrysostom, to avoid being made a bishop, fled 
into the solitude of the deserts ; and St. Amonius the 
hermit, to escape being made a priest^ went so far as to cut 
off one of his ears. 


20. Missienaries should rejoice to be considered poor in talent; 
birth, and virtue, the dregs and off scouring of the world. They 
should be glad whenever there arises any opportunity for abjection 
and contempt, even though it be not for themselves alone, but also 
extending to the Congregation. And by this test they will be able 
to know what progress tbey are making in humility. — 8t, F. ds 

This Saint, who knew well the great value of humilia- 
tionSy was so fond of them that a worthy ecelesiastio^ who 
knew him thoroughly, said that he had never been ac- 
quainted with any man in the world, who was so ambitious 
to rise and to be esteemed and honored, as this humble ser- 
vant of God was desirous to lower and abase himself, and to 
receive humiliation, ooni^ion, and contempt, so that he 
seemed to have chosen them as his treasure even in this life. 
For this cause, he used every effort to take advantage of all 
occasions of the kind that might offer themselves, and from 
everything he derived motives for humiliation. And with 
the same earnestness that he sought it for himself, he desired 
it also for his Congregation, which he was eager to have 
despised and held in low estimation. And whenever this 
happened, he rejoiced not a little. St. Jane Frances de Chan- 
tal once undertook an affair of much importance, and then 
instantly abandoned it, on considering that success would 
reflect great credit upon herself. To those who wondered 
how she had been able to wind up and dispose of so impor- 
tant a matter so readily, she answered : " As soon as the 
splendor of the Sovereign's majesty revealed itself to my 
eyes, I was so dazzled and blinded that I could no longer 
see anything. Ah 1" she repeated many times, " the splen- 
dor of the daughters of the Visitation is to be without 
splendor, and all their glory lies in humility and abjec- 


dl. To bear abasement and reproach, is the touch -stone of humility, 
and, at the same time, of true virtue. For in this, one becomes con- 
formed to Jesus Christ, who is the true model of all solid virtues. — 
St. F. de 8aU9. 

The blessed Seraphino, a Capuchin ky-brother^ being 
gate-keeper, was accustomed to pass much time in prayer 
in a little chapel in the garden, opposite to the gate. One 
day, the Father Guardian, passing that way with a visiting 
Father, said to his companion, ^^ Would you like to see a 
samt V Then approaching the chapel, he reproved Sera- 
phino severely, saying : " What are you doing here, hypo- 
crite? The Lord teaches us to pray in a room with closed 
doors, and do you pray in public to be seen ? Gret up, ras- 
cal, and be ashamed of deceiving poor strangers in such a 
way !'' Delighted with these reproo&. Brother Seraphino 
kissed the ground, and then went away with a countenance 
as ftdl of satisfaction as if he had just beard some news 
which was much to his pleasure or advantage. Another 
day, he was asked by a companion for a needle and a lit- 
tle thread. He replied that he had a needle but no thread ; 
when the other said angrily : '^ It is plain that you are a 
fool, and were never good for anything ! What can the Or- 
der do with such an incapable man as you are ? Go away, 
for I cannot bear to look at you P' Then, without any an- 
ger or discomposure, he turned away from the monk who 
had reproached him, and after a little while came back with 
his usual serenity of countenance, to the great edification 
of his fellow-Religious. 

In the Lives of the Fathers, we read that St. Amonius 
had arrived at such great perfection, that he was as insen- 
fflble to insults as a stone ; and no matter how many were in- 
flicted upon him, he never considered that any injury had 
been done him. In the same Lives, it is related that the Abbot 


John, one day, told his disciples the story of a youth, who, 
tor having grievously insulted his master, was condemned to 
remain for three years in menial employment, and to receive 
all the insults that might be inflicted upon him, without 
ever avenging himself at all. Returning to his master after 
this time had expired, he was told that for the next three 
years he must reward whoever did him an injury. Having 
faithfully done this, he was sent to Athens to study phi- 
losophy. He entered the school of an old master who was 
accustomed to ill-treat all his scholars at their entrance. He 
did the same in this case; but the new-comer only 
laughed, and on being asked the reason of his conduct, he 
answered : " How can I help laughing, when I have so long 
paid for ill-usage, and now I find it without paying any- 
thing?^' "My children,'^ added the holy Abbot, when 
he had finished his story, " submission to injuries is the 
roiad by which our Fathers have passed to go to the Lord ; 
and difficult as it appears at first, you see that by habit it 
becomes not only easy, but even pleasant.^' 

22. He who is truly humble, must desire in truth to be despised, 
mocked, persecuted, and blamed, although wrongfully. If he 
wishes to imitate Christ, how can he do it better than in this way t 
Oh, how wise will be, one day, be seen to be, who rejoiced in being 
accounted vile and even a fool I for such was Wisdom itself esteemed. 
-^St. TereM, 

Cassian narrates of the Abbot Faphnutius that, being 
Superior of a monastery, and much revered and esteemed 
by his monks, on account of his venerable age and admira- 
ble life, he disliked so much honor, and preferring to see 
himself humiliated, forgotten, and despised, he left the 
monastery secretly, by night, in the dress of a secular. He 
then went to the monastery of St. Paoomius, which was at a 
great distance from his own, and remained many days at the 


griie^ humbly asking for the habit. He prostrated himself be- 
f(xe the monks^ who soomfidly reproached him with having 
speat his life in the enjoyment of the world^ and then com- 
ing at last to serve Grod^ urged by necessity, because he had 
nomeansofUving. Finally, moved by his urgent entrea- 
ties^ they gave him the habit, with the charge of the garden^ 
assigning to him another monk as his superior, to whom 
he WIS to look for everything. Now, not content with 
performing his duties with great exactness and humility, 
he, consequently, took pains to do all that the rest avoided, 
—all the lowest and most disagreeable tasks in the house, 
—and would often rise secretly in the night, and do many 
things that the others were to perform, so that, in the mom- 
mg, they would wonder, not knowing how their work came 
to be done. He continued to live in this manner for three 
years, much pleased with the good opportunity he had to 
labor and be despised, which was the thing he had so 
greatly desired. Meanwhile, his monks, feeling grievously 
the loss of such a Father, had gone out in different bands 
to seek him ; they finally found him as he was ma- 
nuring the ground, and threw themselves at his feet. The 
bystanders were amazed, but still more so when they heard 
that this was Paphiiutius, whose name was so celebrated 
among them; and they immediately asked his pardon. The 
holy old man wept at his misfortune in having been dis- 
covered through the envy of the demon, and at having lost 
the treasure which he had seemed to find. Even by force 
he was carried back to his monustery, where he was re- 
ceived with indescribable gladness, and watched and guarded 
with the utmost diligence, that he might not again escape. 

28. If we should well consider aU that is human and imperfect 
in U8, we should find but too much cause to humiliate ourselyes be* 
fate God and men, even before our inferiors.— iSi(. F. de Paul 


A holy woman^ once having asked light of the Loid 
that she might know herself well^ saw so much ugliness 
and so many miseries in her own heart, that, not being able 
to bear the sight, she prayed to Grod to relieve her £rom 
such distress ; for she said if it had lasted longer she would 
have sunk under it. 

The venerable Mother Seraphina di Dio once had a very 
clear supernatural illumination, which made her see her 
soul Ml of so many and such abominable &ults, that it 
seemed like a receptacle of all that was foul ; and she judged 
it must be even worse in reality ; for she said, '^ if I had 
more light, I should see more.'' '^ It has often come into 
my mind," she added, ^^ to retire to some cave, when I think 
how little I exercise myself in virtue; as to humility, 
in particular, I seem to myself a Lucifer. Religion is 
beautifid for those who practise virtue, but not for me, who 
cultivate only vices." Therefore, when she received in- 
sults and contempt, she was never disturbed, nor com- 
plained, but said : '^ They speak well ; they do well ; that 
suits me well." Nor was any adversity or trial in her 
whole life ever sufficient to make her change her sen- 

24. In my opinion, we shall aeTer acquire true humility unless we 
raise our eyes to behold Gkxl. Looking upon His greatness, the soul 
sees better her own littleness ; beholding His purity, she is the more 
aware of her own unclean ness ; considering His patience, she feels 
how far she is from being patient ; in fine, turning her glance upon 
the divine perfections, she discovers in herself so many imx)erfections 
that she would gladly close her eyes to them.-— iSS^. Tereaa, 

This was, in truth, one of the principal fountains from 
which St. Vincent de Paul drew that humble opinion which 
he had of himself, as well as his great desire for humilia* 
tions. That is to say, he derived them firom the pio-^ 


liniid knowledge which he had of the infinite perfections of 
Ghd, and of the extreme weakness and misery of creatures ; 
soiiathe thought it a manifest injustice not to humiliate 
hmBelf always and in all things. In a conference^ one day^ 
witfa his priests, he spoke thus : '^ In truth, if each of us 
wiU ^ve his attention to knowing himself well before Grod^ 
he will find it to be the most just and reasonable thing to 
deq>iae and humble himself. For, if we seriously consider 
the natural and continual inclination we have to evil, oiur 
natural incapacity for good, and the experience we all have 
had that even when we think we have succeeded well in 
something and that our plans are wise, the matter often 
tarns out quite difierent from our anticipations, and Grod 
permits us to be considered wanting in judgment ; and that, 
finally, in all we think, say, or do, both in substance and 
circumstances, we are always filled and encompassed with 
motives for humiliation and confiision, — how shall we noli 
consider ourselves worthy to be repulsed and despised in re- 
flecting upon such things, and in seeing ourselves so &r 
Srom the holiness and sublime perfections of God, and from 
the marvellous operations of His grace, and from the life 
of Christ our Lord?" 

26. One who wishes to become truly holy ought not, except in a 
few unusual cases, to excuse himself, although that for which he is 
blamed be not true. Jesus Christ acted thus. He heard Himself 
charged with evil which He hnd not done, but said not a word to 
free Himself from the disgrace.— iSt. PhUip Neri. 

The Empress Leonora was treated by her mother always 
with harshness, and without any appearance of afiFection. 
For the smallest things that were observed by no one else, 
her mother repraved her sharply at every turn, and fre- 
quently struck her. The good child remained always in 
alenoe^ with her eyes cast down^ uttering not a word in her 


defenoei still less complaining or weeping. Often when tlie 
tempest had passed^ she would kneel and kiss her mother's 
feet, asking her panion and promising amendment. 

St. Vincent de Paul never justified himself against the 
complaints and calumnies brought against him and his Con- 
gregation^ whatever trouble or loss they might cause. Once 
when he had used his influence to prevent a bishopric from 
being conferred on one of his subjects^ whom he considered 
unworthy of it^ the disappointed candidate invented an 
enormous calumny against him, which came to the ears of 
the Queen. One day, meeting the Saint, she told him laugh- 
ingly that he had been accused of such smd such a thing. He 
calmly replied, " Madam, I am a great sinner," When her 
Majesty said that he ought to assert his innocence, he an- 
swered, ^^ Quite as much was said against Christ our Lord, 
and He never justified Himself." It happened that, one 
time, in a public hall, a nobleman said that the missionary 
zeal of St. Vincent's followers had greatly cooled. When 
the Saint heard this, he would not say a word in defence, 
though he could easily have proved the contrary of the as- 
sertion, for in that year and the preceding more missions 
had been given tiian ever before. To one who urged him 
to take notice of the affair, by telling him that this gentle- 
man, though not knowing the truth, was continuing to 
speak evil of the Congregation, he answered, " We will let 
him talk. For my part, I will never justify myself except 
by my works." It chanced, one day, that a prelate, having 
sammoned the Saint to an assembly where many persons of 
rank were present, reproved him publicly for a thing for 
which he was not at all to blame. But he, without a word 
of complaint or excuse, immediately knelt and asked par- 
don, to the great admiration of those present, to whom his 
innocence was known. One of them^ a man of much piety 


aid learnings after the assembly was over^ and the Saint 
was gone^ said that he was a man of extraordinary virtue and 
oft supernatural and divine spirit. 

The venerable Mother Seraphina never excused herself^ 
even to her confessors^ though they might blame her 
wrongftdly ; nor did she explain how matters really stood, 
unless obliged by obedience. Once^ in particular^ when she 
was sharply reproved by her director, though the thing 
laid to her charge was not true, she replied only : " You 
are right.'' Afterwards^ he commanded her to tell him 
the truth, and on hearing it he was sorry for his wrongful 

26. Sometimes a soul rises more towards perfection by not excus- 
iog herself than by ten sermons. Since by this means one begins 
to acquire freedom, and indifference as to what good or evil may be 
said. Nay mor^ ; by a habit of not replying, one arrives at such a 
point that when he hears anything said of himself, it does not seem 
as if it related to him, but rather like an affair belonging to some one 
elae.^St, Teresa. 

Father Alvarez, the confessor of St. Teresa, having been 
fiJsely accused of a grave fault in a provincial assembly, 
and seriously reproved for it in public, said nothing, either 
in public or private, in his own defence. Afterwards, Grod 
rewarded this heroic silence with extraordinary favors. 

Among the ancient monks, there was one named Eulo- 
gius, very humble and patient. Wherefore, the lax and n^- 
ligent threw all their faults upon him ; and he, being cor- 
rected and reproved for them, humbly accepted, without any 
denial or excuse, the penances which were given for them, 
and performed them with great patience. The older 
Fathers, seeing him every day under reprehension, were 
displeased with him, and told the Abbot that he ought to 
apply some I'emedy, for they could not bear this state of 


things any longer. The Abbot took time^ and^ in prmyer, 
entreated the Lord to enlighten him^ and teach him what 
he ought to do with this brother. Then Grod revealed to 
him his iimooence and great sanctity. Being extremely as- 
tonished at this^ he called together all the monks^ and said 
to them : " Believe me, I would prefer the &ults of Eulo- 
gius with his patience and humility, to all the good works 
and virtues of many others who murmur against him, and 
think they are doing well themselves. And that you may 
see how great is the virtue of our companion, let each of 
you bring here the mat on which he sleeps.^' When all the 
mats were brought, he had a good fire lit and threw them 
all into it. Every one was instantly burned except that of 
Brother Eulogius, which remained. Then, prostrate upon 
the ground, they all asked pardon of Grod, and conceived 
the highest opinion of their brother. But he was grieved 
at being discovered, and the next night fled to the desert, 
where he would be xmknown ; for he knew very well 
that no one can be honored in this world and in the next 

27. Here is one of the best means to acquire humility,— fix well 
in mind this maxim : One is as much as he is in the sight of God, 
and no more. — A KempU, 

St. Francis ni«le a begiiming of sanctity by tnunpling 
under foot human respect : for he had thoroughly penetrated 
the truth of this hol^im which he oSn revolved in 
his mind. 

In this solid maxim, St. Francis de Sales was equally 
well founded and established. Therefore, he had his own 
reputation very little at heart, and did not care at all how 
others might feel in regard to him. In conversation, he 
once said : ^^ Oh that it were God's pleasure that my inno- 
cence should never be recognized even in the day of oni- 


versa] judgmentj but that it should remain always hidden 
aad ^iemally concealed in the secret recesses of tlie eternal 
w^iidom ?' And again : ^^ If the grace of God had caused 
me to perform any work of righteousness, or had wrought 
any good by my means, I should be content that in theday 
of judgment, when the secrets of hearts are manifested, 
Grod alone should know of my righteousness ; and my un- 
righteousness, on the contrary, should be seen by every 

28. All those who have truly wished to arrive at the possession of 
humility, have applied themselves with all their power to the prac- 
tice of humiliations, because they koow that this is the quickest and 
shortest road thereto.— iS^. Bernard, 

The blessed Alessandro Sauli, Bishop of Aleria, a man 
of learning, and esteemeti in his Order, willingly occupied 
himself, even when he was Superior, in humble employ- 
ments, such as sweeping the house, washing the dishes, 
drawing water, bringing wood to the kitchen, working in 
the garden, serving the old and the sick, carrying heavy 
burdens on his back, taking charge of the door, ringing 
the bells, or helping the sacristan. When, on account of 
preaching or other spiritual works, he was at any time pre- 
vented from performmg these daUy exercises, he was accus- 
tomed to supply the omission by doing double work on the 
next day. 

St. Camillus de Lelli was also remarkable in this way. 
When he was Superior Greneral of his Order, he was often 
seen serving in the refectory, washing dishes in the kitchen, 
carrying the cross, and sometimes even the cofiSn, at funerals, 
and going about Rome with a wallet on his shoulders, b^- 
ging bread ; though he was blamed for it by some great 
nobles and cardinals who were his friends and happened 
to meet bim io the streete in this guise. 


The venerable Mother Seraphina often employed her- 
self in humble tasks; she was also seen manj times rubbing 
her &oe with an old shoe. 

St Mary Magdalen di Pazzi^ of her own aooord, adopted 
practices that might bring her into contempt; such as 
having her eyes bandaged, her hands tied behind her back^ 
being trampled upon, struck^ or rudely addressed. 

We read of St. Policronius that he wore a wretched 
habit, ate poor and very scanty food, and passed almost 
all night in prayer, with an oak log on his shoulders, so 
heavy that Theodoret, the author of his life, who had 
seen the log, found, by experiment, that he could scarcely lift 
it from the ground with both hands. 

St. Rose of Lima, besides occupying herself as a servant 
in the lowest offices every day, invented a strange method 
of lowering herself still more. Having in the house a 
woman-servant of harsh temper and exceedingly coarse 
nature, she induced her, by urgent entreaties, to maltreat her 
both in words and acts. Retiring with her into a lonely 
part of the house, and throwing herself upon the floor, the 
Saint would cause this person to spit in her &ce, trample her 
under foot, strike her with her fist, kick and beat her, as 
teamsters sometimes do a horse ; nor would she rise to her 
feet until she had obtained as much of this treatment as 
she desired. 

St. John Climacus tells of a monk who had a great love 
for humility, that he devised this plan to overcome the 
thoughts of pride with which the devil inspired him. He 
wrote upon the wall of his cell these memorable words : Per- 
fect charity. Loftiest contemplation. Total mortification. 
Unalterable sweetness. Unconquerable patience. Angelic 
chastity. Profoundest humility. Filial confidence. 
Promptest diligence. Utter resignation. So, when the devil 


bepm to uige him to pride^ he answered within binuielf, 
^' Lrt ustry the test.'' Then approaohing the wall, heiead 
these headings: ^^ Perfedt charity. Charity^ yes, but how 
perfect, if I speak evil of others ? Profoundeat humUty. 
This I have not; it is quite enough if I daim the 
profound. Angelio chadUy. How can this be mine, when 
I allow admittance to unchaste thoughts ? Loftiest eon- 
templation. No, I have many distractions. TataJ mor- 
tificcUion. No, for I seek my own gratification. Unal- 
Urable moeetness. No, for at the least vexation I lose my 
self-control." And so with all the rest. In this way he 
banished the temptation to vanity. 

29. Humility, to be true, must be always accompanied by charity ; 
that 18, loving, seeking, and accepting humiliations to please God, 
and to become more like Jesus Christ ; to do otherwise, would be to 
practise it in the manner of the heathen.— iSS(. F. de Salea. 

It cannot be said that St. Vincent de Paul was wanting 
In true humility. However much he did to conceal^ abase, 
humiliate, and render himself despicable in the eyes of 
the world, allowing no opportunity for humbling himself 
to pass without accepting it with all willingness and 
joy, he yet did it all because it expressed the sentiments 
of his own heart in regard to himself and his nothingness, 
as well as to act out and imitate the humiliations of 
the Son of God^ who, as he said one day in a conference, 
being the brightness of His Father's glory and the image 
of His substance, not content with having led a life which 
might be called a continual hiuniliation, willed even afler 
his death to remain before our eyes in a state of extreme 
ignominy, when He hung upon the cross. Thus the 
humility of this servant of God was from his heart, and so 
sincere that it could be read on his brow, in his eyes, and 
in his whole exterior. 


St. Jerome relates of St. Paula that when she heard it 
said that she had become a fool through too much spiritoal, 
fervor^ and that it would be well if a hole were made in her 
head to give air to her brain, she answered modestly, in 
the words of the Apostle, " Nos stulti propter Chriatuni^-- 
We are fools for Christ's sake. She added also that the same 
thing had happened to Jesus Christ, when His relations 
wished to confine him as a madman. St. Jerome also says 
that when she received insults, contempt, or ignominy, 
she never allowed the slightest word of resentment to escape 
from her lips, but was accustomed in such cases to repeat to 
herself the words of the psalm : Ego autem quasi surdvs 
non avdiebam, et guasi mutuSy non aperiena os »wum — But 
I as a deaf man, heard not. and as a dumb man, who opens 
not liis mouth. 



Wumtft mU came afttr Me, let him deny himse^f.-^'MaXt., iri : 24. 

1. The first step to be taken by one who wishes to follow Christ, 
is, according to our Lord's own words, that of renouncing himself, 
that is, his own senses, his own passions, his own will, his own judg- 
ment, and all the moTemeots of nature, making to Gk)d a sacrifice of 
all these things, and of all their acts, which are surely sacrifices 
very acceptable to the Lord. And we must never grow weary of 
this ; for if any one, having, so to speak, one foot already in heaven, 
should abandon this exercise, when the time should come for him to 
put the other there, he would run much risk of being \oBt.—8t. F. 
de Paul, 

The same Saint made himself such a proficient in this vir- 
tue that it might be called the weapon most frequently and 
constantly handled by him through his whole life until his 
last breath ; and by this he succeeded in gaining absolute 
dominion over all the movements of his inferior nature. 
Therefore, he kept his own passions so completely subject to 
reason, that he could scarcely be known to have any. 

St. John Climacus says that the ancient Fathers, even 
those who were most perfect, exercised themselves in many 
kinds of mortification and contempt. For they said that 
if they should give up training themselves because men 
thought them already consummate in virtue, they would 
come, in time, to abandon and lose that modesty and. pa- 
tience which they possessed ; just as a field, though rich and 
fertile, if it be no longer cultivated, becomes unsightly and 
ends in producing only thorns and thistles/ 


2. The measure of our adTancement in the spiritual life should he 
taken from the progress we malce in the virtue of mortification ; for 
it should be held as certain that the greater violence we shall do our- 
selves in mortification, the greater advance we shall make in perfec- 
tion.— iG^. JerotM* 

When St. Francis Borgia heard it said that any one was 
a saint^ he used to answer, ^* He is, if he is mortified.'' 
In this way he himself became so great a saint ; for he 
exercised himself in mortification to such a d^ree, that only 
that day seemed to him truly wretched in which he had not 
undergone some mortification, either bodily or spiritually. 

When a young monk once asked an aged saint why, 
among so many who aim at perfection, so few are found 
perfect, he replied, " Because in order to be perfect it is 
necessary to die wholly to one's own inclinations, and there 
are few who arrive at this." 

8. It should he our principal business, to conquer ourselves, and, 
from day to day, to go on increasing in strength and perfection. 
Above all, however, it is necessary for us to strive to conquer our 
little temptations, such as fits of anger, suspicions, Jealousies, envy, 
deceitfulness, vanity, attachments, and evil thoughts. For in this 
way we shall acquire strength to subdue greater ones. — 8t, F, de 

A certain physiognomist, looking at Socrates, pro- 
nounced him to be inclined to dishonesty, gluttony, drunk- 
enness, and many other vices. His disciples, being angry 
at this, wished to lay violent hands on the man who had 
spoken so ill of their master. But Socrates said : " Be calm, 
for he has told the truth. I should have been just such 
a man as he describes, if I had not given myself to mor« 

When an old monk was asked how he could bear the 
noise of some shepherd boys near him, he answered : ^' I 


was at fiilrt inclined to say something to them ; butlthought 
better of it, and said to myself^ ^ If I cani^ot endure so little 
as this, how shall I endure greater trials, wheu they come 

St. Francis Xavier acted in the same way on occasion, 
and said that we must not deceive ourselves ; for whoever 
does not conquer himself in trifles, will not be able to do so 
in greater matters. 

i. He who allows himself to be ruled or guided by the lower aud 
aniHial part of bis nature, deserres to be called a beast rather than a 
mao.— iSi^. F. de Paul. 

Philip, Cbunt of Nemours, after leading a very bad life, 
experienced on his death-bed wonderful contrition, so that 
he b^ged his confessor to have his body carried to the 
public square and left there, saying, *^ I have lived like a 
dog, and like a d<^ I ought to die.'* 

. 5. Whoever makes liltle account of exterior mortifications, alleg- 
ing that the interior are more perfect, shows clearly that he is not 
mortified at all, either exteriorly or interiorly .—iSi^. F. de Paul. 

This Saint was always an enemy to his body, treating it 
with much austerity,— -chastising it with hair-cloth, iron 
chains, and leather belts armed with sharp points. Every 
morning on rising, he took a severe dis -ipline — a practice 
which he had b^un before founding the Congregation, and 
which he never omitted on account of the hardships of 
journeys, or in his convalescence from any illness ; but, on 
the contrary, he took additional ones on special occasions. 
All his life he slept upon a simple straw bed, and always 
rose at the usual hour for the Community, though he was 
generally the last of all to retire to rest, and though he often 
oould not sleep more than two hours out of the night, on ao- 


count of his infirmities. From this it frequently happened 
that he was much tormented during the day by drowsiness, 
which he would drive away by remaining on his feet or in 
some uncomfortable posture, or by inflicting on himself some 
annoyance. Besides, he willingly bore great cold in winter, 
and great heat in summer, with other inconveniences; 
in a word, he embraced, or rather sought, all the sufferings 
he could, and was very careful never to allow any oppor- 
tunity for mortifying himself to escape. 

A holy woman, being compelled by her husband to go 
to a ball, put dry mustard on her shoulders, which, in 
dancing, caused her such intense pain that she fainted sev- 
eral times, and had to be carried from the ball-room. 

St. Edmund, Archbishop of Canterbury, wore for thirty 
successive years a band of hair-cloth next to his skin, and 
always slept on the floor without pillow or coverlet. St. 
Louis, King of France, constantly chastised his body with 
fasts and hair-cloth. St. Casimir, son of the King of Po- 
land, did the same, and also slept on the bare ground. St. 
Margaret^ Queen of Scotland, as well as St. Cajetan, often 
used the discipline during whole nights. 

Finally, there can be found among the Confessors no 
saint, either man or woman, who did not have great love 
for exterior mortifications, and who did not practise them 
as much as possible. 

Mortification of the appetite is tlie A. B, C of spiritual life. 
Wboeyer cannot control himself in this, will hardly be able to con- 
quer temptations more difficult to subdue. — St. V. de Paul, 

This Saint had, by long habit, so mortified his sense of 
taste that he never gave a sign of being pleased with any- 
thing, but took indifferently all that was given him, how- 
ever insipid or ill-cooked it might be ; and so little did 


he r^ard what he was eatings that when a couple of raw 
^gs were once set before him by mistake^ he ate them 
withoat taking the least notioe. He always seemed to go 
to the table unwillingly, and only from necessity^ eating 
always with great moderation, and with a view solely to 
the glory of God ; nor did he ever leave the table without 
having mortified himself in something, either as to quan- 
tity or quality. For many years, too, lie kept a bitter 
powder to mix with his food ; and he usually ate so little 
ihaJt he frequently fiunted from weakness. 

The Empress Leonora was remarkable for this virtue. 
Her usual dinner was of herbs, pulse, and other food of 
the poor, always the same both in kind and quantity. She 
had four dishes at dinner, and three at supper, frequently 
setting aside some of them for no reason except that they 
pleased her. And if these dishes came to the table covered 
with pastry or other delicacies used by the rich, they al- 
ways went back whole and untouched. When she was at 
the Emperor's table or at formal banquets, she spent the 
time in cutting into the smallest bits whatever was placed 
before her ; then when another course was brought, she sent 
away the first without having tasted it, and went on as be- 
fore. When she ate apples baked in the ashes, she never 
peeled them, but ate them with whatever ashes were upon 
them. On Fridays she lived on bread and water alone, in 
memory of the Redeemer's passion. She bore the most 
parching thirst on the hottest summer days, without per- 
mitting even a sip of water to pass her burning lips. 

St. Elizabeth, Queen of Portugal, fested on bread and 
water about half the year. 

St. Francis Xavier waged a constant and lasting war 
against his appetite, so that he never toob: food or drink for 
pleasure, but from pure necessity ; nor did he ever take as 
much aa he desired^ even of bread. 


St. Edmund of Canterbury never ate either meat or fiah, 
but only bread and other common food^ and su£fered go 
much from thirst that his lips chapped. 

The blessed Enrico Susone drank nothing for six sac- 
cessive months ; and in order to feel thirst more acutely, 
he ate salt food, and then going to a stream, he bent his 
head down close to its surface, yet without allowing his 
lips to touch it. 

The blessed Joanna of St. Damien practised such great 
austerities in regard to food, that she was entreated by the 
other nuns to moderate them. But she answered : ^^ I am 
sorry that I cannot feed this body of mine on straw. I 
know how much harm liberty does to it, aud I thank Grod, 
who has given me this knowledge.^' 

When St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi was seriously ill, ex- 
tremely weak, and suffering from nausea, if she happened 
to think of any kind of food which would please her, she 
considered it a &ult to ask for it or allude to it, and care- 
fully abstained from doing so. 

The blessed Jacopone, haying, one day, a desire for meat, 
bought a piece. He hung it up in his room, and kept it 
until it was spoiled ; then he had it cooked and ate it with 
unspeakable disgust. 

By a long aed constant habit of abstinence and mortifica- 
tion, St. Anselm became unable to perceive the taste of food. 
It was the same with St. Bernard, who for that reason 
drank oil one day instead of wine, without perceiving it at 
all, and he reached such a point that going to the table 
seemed to him a kind of torture. 

St. Teresa said that she experienced a similar difficulty 
in eating ; and St. Isidore suffered from it so excessively 
that he could not go to the table without tears, and the com- 
mand of his Superior was needed to force him to take some 


7. One of the thiDgs that keep us at a distance from perfection 
is, without doubt, our tongue. For when one has gone ao far at to 
crnnmit. no faults in speaking, the Holy Spirit Himself assures ua 
that be Is perfect. And since the worst way of speaking is to speak 
too mncb» speak little and well, little and gently, little and simply. 
little and charitably, little and amiably.— iSf. F. de SaXs^ 

St. ^natias Lojola governed his tongae so well that nis 
speediwas sunple, grave^ considerate, and brief. 

St. John Berchmans was a man of few words, and so 
oonsidaiate in his speech that tliere was never heard from 
his month an idle word, one contrary to mle, one that was 
neither necessary, nseAil, nor directed to any good purpose. 
Being once asked, by a brother novice, how he managed 
never to commit a &ult in speaking, he replied thus : ^^ I 
never say anything without first considering it, and recom- 
mending it to Grod, that I may say nothing which can dis- 
please Him.'' Besides, he was never observed to violate 
silence, and when asked how he could keep this rule so 
perfectly, he answered : " This is the way I do : I salute 
humbly all those I meet ; if any one asks any service of 
me, I show the greatest readiness to render it ; if any one 
asks me a question, I listen, and answer briefly ; and I 
avoid saying a single superfluous word." 

St Vincent de Paul made himself so completely master 
of his tongue, that useless or superfluous words were rarely 
heard from his mouth, and never a single one inconsiderate, 
contrary to charity, or such as might savor of vanity, 
flattery, or ostentation. It often happened that aft^er open- 
ing his mouth to say something unusual that came into 
his mind, he closed it suddenly, stifling the words, and ap- 
parently reflecting in his own heart, and considering before 
God whether it was expedient to say them. He then contin- 
ued to speak, not according to his inclination, for he had 
none, but as he felt sure would be most pleasing to (xod« 


When any^ug was told him which he already knew, he 
listened with attention^ giving no sign of having heard it 
before. He did tiiis to mortify self-love, which always 
makes us desire to prove that we know as much as others. 
When insult, reproach, or wrong of any kind, was inflicted 
upon him, he never opened his lips to complain, to justify 
himself, or to repel the injury ; but he recollected himself, 
and placed all his strength in silence and patience, blessing 
in his heart those who had ill-treated him, and praying for 
them. When he found himself overwhelmed with excessive 
work, he did not complain, but his ordinary words wctc : 
" Blessed be Grod ! we must accept willingly all that He 
deigns to send us." 

St. Aloysius Gbnzaga, when about to converse with any 
one, fervently repeated this prayer: P<me Domine, cm»- 
todiam ori meo, &c. — Set a watch, O Lord, before my lips, 

A certain virgin once observed silence from the Festival 
of the Holy Cross, in September, until Christmas, with such 
rigor that in all that time she did not speak one word. 
This mortification was so pleasing to Grod, that it was re- 
vealed to a holy soul, that as a reward for it, she should 
never pass through purgatory. 

Among the lofty eulogiums that St. Jerome bestows upon 
his pupil St. Paula, is this, that she was as cautious in 
speaking as she was ready to listen. 

8. It is a common doctrine of the Saints that one of the principal 
means of leading a good and exemplary life is modesty and custody 
of the eyes. For, as there Is nothing so adapted to preserve devo- 
tion in a soul, and to cause compunction aud edification in others, 
as this modesty, so there is nothing which so much exposes a per- 
son to relaxation and scandals as its opposite.— Bocfi^uoi. 

In his life of St. Bernard, Surius relates that when Pope 


limooeiit HI went with his Cardinals to visit Clairvaox^ 
the Sainty with all his monks^ came out to meet him^ but 
with such a modest and composed exterior as moved to 
compunction the Cardinals and the Pope himself; for they 
were astonished that on such a festival, and such an unu- 
sual* and solemn occasion of rejoicing, they all kept their 
eyes cast down and &stened upon the ground without 
turning them in any direction, and that while ali were gaz- 
ing at them^ they looked at no one. He also tells of St. 
Barnard, that he practised custody of the eyes to such a 
d^ree that after a year's novitiate he did not know how 
the ceiling of his cell was made, whether it was arched or 
flat ; that he always believed there was one window in the 
church, while there were three ; that he walked, one day, 
with his companions on the shore of a lake, without know- 
ing it was there, so that when they were speaking of the 
lake in the evening, he asked where they had seen it 

It is narrated of St. Bemardine of Sienna that his mod- 
esty was so great that his mere presence acted as a restraint 
upon his companions ; so that if one only said, ^^ Bemar- 
dine is coming,^' they would check themselves immediately. 
Sarins also tells, in his Life of St. Lucian the Martyr, 
that the heathens were converted and became Christians by 
merely looking upon him, on account of his composure and 

The blessed Clara di Monte&lco never raised her eyes to 
the face of any one with whom she was speaking. When 
she was asked by a monk the reason of this, she answered : 
*^ As we speak only with the tongue, what need is there of 
looking in the face of the person we are talking with ?" 

St. John Berchmans was greatly to be admired for 
mortification of the eyes. He would never turn to look at 
anything, however new and unexpected it might be, and 


even a noise behind him would never cause him to turn, nat- 
uralasitisto do so. Happening to be present, onedaj, at 
a college exhibition, he took a seat on a bench, and remained 
motionless, without ever raising his eyes, and with 80 
much recollection that a nobleman who occupied the next 
seat was amazed, and said, ^^ This Father must be a saint." 
There are, on the other hand, innumerable instances of 
those who have become relaxed and a cause of scandal 
through want of custody of the eyes. It will be enough 
to cite the example of David, who, by a simple unguarded 
glance, prompted by curiosity, was suddenly changed from 
a great saint into a great sinner, the scandal of his whole 

9. Believe me that the mortification of the senses in seeing, hearing, 
and spealiing, is worth much more than wearing chains or hair-cloth. 
-St, F. de Sales. 

It is known of St. Catherine of Sienna that while her 
family were celebrating the Carnival in their house, she was 
not willing to join them, protesting that as she had no other 
love, so she had no other pleasure, but in her Jesus. He 
then appeared to her in company with the Blessed Virgin 
and other Saints, and espoused her with so much clearness 
and certainty, that the Dominicans, by Apostolic Indul- 
gence, celebrate a festival in commemoration of it on the 
last day of the Carnival. 

A very devout penitent of his once confessed to St. 
Francis Xavier, that she had looked upon a man with 
more tenderness than was suitable. The Saint closed what 
he had to say to her with these words : " You are unworthy 
to have God look upon you, since for the sake of looking 
upon a man, you do not regard the risk of losing Grod." 
This was enough, foi*, during the rest of her life, she never 
again turned her eyes towards any man. 


The Empress Leonora almost always kept her eyes down, 
and nuised them only when she was welcomed by monks or 
onns to their houses ; she returned their salutations cour- 
teously, with a cheerful countenance and a kind smile. 
When present at the theatre^ to which she was obliged to go, 
ghe rarely glanced at the splendid gathering of the nobility, 
or at the superb scenes which succeeded each other, with 
views of gardens, forests, and palaces, in perspective. She 
spent all this time with her mind in heaven, contemplating 
the delights of paradise, and reciting psalms, which, to 
avoid notice, she had bound in the same style as the books 
of the plays, so that she seemed to every one very attentive 
to the play, while she was, in reality, enjoying a very dif- 
ferent sight. 

St. Vincent de Paul practised continual mortification of 
the senses, depriving them even of lawful gratifications, and 
often inflicting on them voluntary sufferings. When he 
was travelling, instead of allowing his eyes to wander over 
the country, he usually kept them on his crucifix. When 
walking in the city, he went with eves cast down or closed, 
that he might see God alone. Visiting the palaces of the 
nobility, he did not look at the tapestry or other beautiful 
objects, but remained with downcast glance and full of rec- 
ollection. He practised the same thing in the churches, 
never raising his eyes except to behold the Blessed Sacra- 
ment, not to look at the decorations, however beautiful they 
might be. He was never seen to gather flowers iu the 
gardens, or take up anything that was pleasing to the sense 
of smell ; on the contrary, he greatly enjoyed remaining in 
places where there was an unpleasant odor, such as hospitals 
and the houses of the sick poor. His tongue he employed 
only in praise of God and virtue, in opposing vice and in 
consoling, instructing, and edifying his neighbor. His ears 


he opened only to disoourse which tended to good^ for if 
gave him pain to hear news and worldly talk^ and he made 
every effort to avoid listening to what would delight the 
hearing without profit to the soul. 

When a penitent who was somewhat reckless in his 
speech^ asked his director for a hair-shirty to mortify the 
flesh, ^' My son/' said the priest| laying his finger upon 
his lips, ^^ the best hair-shirt is to watch carefully all that 
comes out at this door/' 

St. Aloysius Gonzaga was admirable for mortification of 
the eyes, for it is narrated in his Life, that he never looked 
any woman in the face. After he had served the Empress 
as page for two years, a report was spread that she was com- 
ing into Italy, where he happened to be, and some congratu- 
lated him on the prospect of seeing his mistress again. 
But he replied : " I shall not recognize her except by her 
voice, for I do not know her face.'' His rare mortification 
was well rewarded by Grod even in his life, for he was never 
attacked by temptations of the flesh, 

10. There are some so much inclined to mortify themselves, that 
tbey take care to find in everything some means of mortificatioo. 
What a beautiful practice is this, and of how much advantage I— 

Sister Joanna Maria of the Trinity, a Discaloed Carme- 
lite, had this excellent custom of seeking and finding morti- 
fication in everything. And so she always selected what was 
most insipid in food ; poorest in clothing and shelter ; most 
laborious in work ; most unpleasant in matters of inclina- 
tion. In a word, she always chose what was most incon- 
venient and disagreeable for herself, seeking in all things 
only the pleasure, honor, and glory of God. 

St. Francis Borgia also made much use of the same 
practice. He wore pebbles in his shoes; slept little at 


I ^t; when walking in the sun in summer, he remained 
^"1 out as long as possible ; he swallowed medicine slowly, 
7 ind diewed pills, that he might keep them longer in his 

11. Upon interior mortification depends the right adjustment of 
our whole exterior,— its arrangement with most perfection, with 
most sweetness and peace.— /Sl^. Teresa, 

St. Philip Neri, when any one asked him what he should 
do to become a saint, used to put his hand to his forehead, 
saying, ^^ Give me those four fingers, and I will make you 
a saint f^ meaning that all sanctity depends on denying 
one's own will and one^s own judgment. And to a penitent 
who often asked permission to take the discipline, he once 
gave this answer : ^^ How are the shoulders to blame, if the 
head is hard r 

Id. Our profit does not depend so much upon mortifying ourselves, 
ts npon knowing how to mortify ourselves ; that is, upon knowing 
how to choose the best mortifications, which are those most re- 
pugnant to our natural inclinations. Some are inclined to disci- 
plines and fasts, and though they be difficult tbiogs, they embrace 
them with fervor, and practise them gladly and easily, on account 
of this leaning which they have towards them. But then they 
will be so sensitive in regard to reputation and honor, that the least 
ridicule, disapproval, or slight, is sufficient to tlirow them into a state 
of impatience and perturbation, und to give rise to such complaints 
u show an equal want of peace and reason. These are the morti- 
flcatioDa which they ought to embrace with the greatest readiness, if 
tbey wish to make progress.— i8S(. F, de Sales. 

The venerable Monseigneur de Palafox understood this 
doctrine well, for he said that the reason why he had 
never advanced in virtue, was that he had never taken 
special pains to avoid all that was most conformed to his 
inclinations. Whoever, then, perceives in himself any 


disposition to oontradict| for example^ or to rely on his 
own judgment^ and is not very attentive to combat, and 
to keep at a distance from all that can entice or subject him 
to it, will not only fiiil to go forward, but will go backward, 
and perhaps so &r backward as to arrive at his own 

A Bellgious, who was a priest, having been chosen as 
assistant to the cook, experienced the greatest repugnance 
and temptations in regard to this charge. To conquer 
himself, he made a vow before a crucifix to remain in this 
office all his life, if the Superiors should be willing. 
Through this and similar victories he arrived at such per- 
fection, as to be able to say that he believed no work could 
be offered to him, however repugnant to the senses, that 
he could not do, by the help of Grod, with perfect ease. 

18. The mortifications which come to us from Ood, or from men 
by His permission, are always worth more than those which are the 
children of our own will ; for it must be considered a general rule, 
that the less our taste and choice intervene in our actions, the more 
they will have of goodness, solidity, devotion, the pleasure of God, 
and our own profit.— /8S(. F, de Sales, 

Adolphus, Count of Alsace, having entered the Order of 
St. Francis, was one day collecting alms in the form of 
milk, when he met his sons, and felt ashamed of his oc- 
cupation. Then instantly recollecting himself, he emptied 
the can of milk upon his head, saying, " Unhappy one ! 
thou art ashamed of the poverty of Jesus Christ I Let them 
see now what thou art carrying I" After that, he suffered 
no more from any similar temptation. 

It is narrated in the Lives of the Fathers, that an old 
solitary, who had, heard the virtue of a certain youthful 
monk greatly praised, resolved to test it. For this pur- 
pose he went to the monk's cell, and entering tiie garden, 


/ wiudi he found well cultivated and in excellent order^ he 
I began^ as if in sporty to break down with his staff all the 
herbs and plants which were there^ not leaving auy un- 
touched. Afterwards, according to the custom of the 
monks, they began to recite psalms together, aud when 
this was ended, the youth, with a cheerftd and modest air, 
asked the old man if he would like to have him prepare 
such of the herbs as were left for his repast. Astonished 
at such an invitation, he, for answer, threw his arms around 
his neck, exclaiming : ^^ Now I see, my son, that you are 
truly dead to your inclinations, as was told me V* 

14. The more one mortifies bis natural inclinations, the more he 
becomes capable of receiving the divine inspirations, and the more be 
gains in virtue.— /Sl^. F. de 8ale$. 

The celebrated Father Laynez, one of the companions of 
St. Ignatius, by means of this practice arrived at great 
purity of mind and imperturbable tranquillity of soul. 

St. Philip Neri made great use of this practice, both with 
his penitents and for himself. One example out of many 
will suffice. A nobleman of high rank had a dog, named 
Capriccio, of which he was very fond. One morning, an at- 
tendant of his brought the dog with him to the lodging of 
St. Philip, who, on seeing him, caressed him a little. 
Upon this, the dog took such a fancy to him, that be 
could not in any way be persuaded to leave him. He was 
again and again sent back to his master, who had him 
kindly treated and kept tied up for a while ; but im- 
mediately on being released, he would go back to the Saint's 
rooms, so that, finally, they were obliged to let him remain 
there. St. Philip afterwards made much use of this dog 
for his own mortification, and that of his spiritual children. 
Sometimes, he made them wash and comb him ; sometimes, 

lO^ A Yi&lB WitH tH£ SAtJSn^ 

carrj him in their arms^ or lead him hy a chain tbiough 
the streets of Rome ; and he himself would walk with them. 
These and similar mortifications lasted for a space of 
fifteen years 

16. The greater part of Christians usually practise indaion instead 
of circumcision. They will make a cut iodeed in a diseased part ; 
but as for employing the knife of circumcision, to take away what- 
ever is superfluous from the heart, few go so far.— iSif. R de Saki. 

The example of the venerable Sister Francesca Famese 
confirms this truth. Immediately after her profession, she 
b^an to yield to relaxation, into which she fell so &r that 
she cared for nothing except vain ornaments in dress, flirt- 
ing, remaining all day at the grate, and, finally, covering 
the walls of her cell with hangings and mirrors. She was 
many times warned, corrected, and sharply reproved, by 
her Superior, her confessor, and, above all, by a nun who 
was her aunt. She felt and understood the force of 
these admonitions and reproofs, and often formed good 
resolutions ; she even put them in practice, by taking off 
her vain ornaments, abandoning the grate, and breaking 
and throwing from the windows her mirrors and tapestry ; 
but a little while after, she went back again to all these 
things, and became as she was before. These miserable 
alternations lasted for a longtime, and might have contin- 
ued for her whole life, as the reforms which she made were 
nothing more than incisions. But, happily, the Divine 
Mercy was pleased to stir her heart by a strong inspiration, 
so that, unable to resist the reproaches of her own conscience, 
she had courage to make a true circumcision, by leav- 
ing not only all vain amusements, but also by forming for 
herself a rule more rigorous than her own, and so well 
planned that it made her foundress of a new order, in which 
she spent the rest of her life in an exemplary manner^ and 


died in the odor of sanctity, as is sufficiently proved by the 
&ct lliat her body remained unchanged for many years. 

Somewhat different was the career of St. Paula, who, as 
St Jerome relates, even from her earliest years, undertook 
to practise a true circumcision of the heart, and with in- 
cteamng age applied herself to it more and more, cutting 
off and retrenching on all sides whatever seemed superflu- 
ous or beyond what was suited to her state. So, while her 
husband was living, she led a life so well regulated and 
dutiful that she was an example to all the matrons of 
Rome, and no one ever dared to charge her with the slight- 
est error. But when she was &eed from the restraints of 
\ the world, after GU)d took away her husband, she b^an 
a most austere life, and never wavered in it until death. 
She no longer slept upon a mattress, but upon the bare 
ground, covered only with hair-cloth. Indeed, she slept 
but little, for she passed almost the whole night in prayer 
and tears. She chastised her body with rigorous fasts and 
very severe disciplines, without stint or mercy. In confess- 
ing her slightest &ults, she shed so many tears that any one 
who did not know her, might have supposed her guilty of 
the gravest offences ; and when she was entreated not to 
weep so much, that she might preserve her sight for read- 
ing ; and not to practise so many austerities and penances, 
that she might not wholly lose her health, — " No,'^ she re- 
phed, ^^ with all reason should this face be disfigured, which 
I have so often beautified with washes contrary to the pre- 
cept of the Lord this body ought, indeed, to be afflicted, 
which has enjoyed so many delights ; long laughter ought 
to be compensated for by continual weeping ; rich and deli- 
cate garments ought to be changed into hair-cloth : for I, 
who have taken so much pains to please the world, now 
to pleaj^ Qod/' Xbu9 she spoke and acted^ in repa- 


ration for the disorders of her past lifei which| neverth**, 
less^ had been most circumspect and modest. 

16. Whoever wishes to make progress in perfection, should use pfl^ 
ticular diligence in not allowing himself to be led away by his pas- 
sions, which destroy with one hand the spiritual edifice which is 
rising by the labors of the other. But to succeed well in this, resist- 
ance should be begun while the passions are yet weak ; for after 
they are thoroughly jrooted and grown up, there is scarcely any 
remedy. — 8t, V. de Paul, 

St. Dorotheus tells us of an old monk^ who, walking with 
one of his disciples in a grove of cypresseSi commanded him 
to pull some of them up, pointing out to him^ first, one 
which was but just b^inning to sprout from the ground ; 
after that^ another, which had grown into a sapling ; and 
finally, one that was a full-grown tree. The disciple set 
himself to the work, and tore up the first with one hand and 
with all possible ease ; the second also with one hand, but 
with some difficulty ; to pull up the third he was obliged 
to try several times, with both hands and all his strength. 
But when he arrived at the fourth, he encountered the real 
difficulty, and though he tried again and again, with all his 
force, and in every way that his ingenuity could suggest, 
he was not able to stir it in the least from the spot. Then 
the aged Saint said : ^^ Now, my son, it is the same as this 
with our passions. While they are still small, with a little 
vigilance and mortification one can easily repress and disable 
them ; but, if we let them take root in our souls, there is no 
human force sufficient to conquer them ; it requires the om- 
nipotent hand of God. Therefore, my son, if you wish to 
acquire virtue, watch the first irregular movements of your 
soul, and study to repress them promptly, by contrary actsy 
at their very birth. Upon this, everything depends." 

17. The ignorance of some is greatly to be pitied, who load ihem- 


nlfes with unwise penances and other unsuitable exercises of their de- 
yioDg, patting all their confidence in them, and expecting to become 
saints by their means. If they would put half of this labor upon 
morti^ng their appetites and passions, they would gain more in a 
month than by all their other exercises in many years.— ^. John of 

We read of St. Ignatius that by means of continual 
mortification he had arrived at such a point that he seemed 
to be a man without passions ; and if it was sometimes de- 
sirable to bring them into action^ they appeared like so 
many modest slaves^ who dared not move of themselveS| 
nor fiuilier than reason, their absolute mistress, ordered 
them to go. 

A Grenoese lady, on account of the desire she had to 
listen to the contract for her marriage made by her father, 
left the world, and became a nun and a saint. 

St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi impressed this, above all 
things, upon the minds of the novices, when she was their 
mistress. And so, when she saw one too much inclined to 
pray, she sent her to sleep or to perform some active labor. 
Upon another who was inclined to exterior works, she im- 
posed prayer or some other interior work. To whoever 
I wished for many penances and mortifications, she gave one 
Paler and Ave. To whoever felt repugnance for them, 
she prescribed severe mortifications and humiliations. 
Among other instances, she made one of the novices throw 
into the fire a little book of spiritual exercises, which she 
had written with her own hand, and to which she showed 
attachment. And thus, the Saint constantly accustomed 
her novices to subject their inclinations, and, at the same 
time, their judgment and their will. 

18. The principal thing upon which we have to turn our attention, 
that we may mortify it, and eradicate it from our hearts, is the pre- 


dominant passion; that % the affection, inclination, vice, or \mA 
habit, which reigns most in us, which mukes us its capthn, wbUk 
brings us into greatest danger, and most frequently causes na to fill 
into grave transgressions. When the king is taken, the battle is won. 
And until we de this, we shall make no great advance in perfeo- 
Hon,— BodriguM. 

An event of the kind upon which Bodrigaez founds his 
comparison^ occurred^ as Holy Scripture narrates, in the 
war between the King of Syria and the King of IsraeL 
The latter commanded all his captains to attack no one in the 
hostile army except the king himself| wisely judging that 
if the king should be conquered, the whole army would 
be overcome. This happened in &ct, for when Eai^ 
Achab was struck down, the battle ended. 

St. Ignatius once had a novice of a fiery disposition, 
to whom he often said : ^' My son, conquer this tempera^ 
ment of yours, and you will have in heaven a more re- 
splendent crown than many who are gentle by nature.'' 
One day, the Father in charge accused this young man to 
him as intractable. " Not so," answered the Saint ; " for 
I believe he has made more improvement in a few months, 
than such a one, who is naturally gentle, in a year." Tiie 
same Saint was himself of a bilious-sanguine temperament. 
But he took his predominant passion so steadily in hand, 
and so conquered and changed himself by the grace of 
God, that he was considered by all, even by physicians, to 
be phl^matia 

St. Francis de Sales confessed that the dominant pas- 
sions he had most difficulty in subduing, were love and 
anger ; and that he had conquered the former by stratagem, 
the latter by open force ; that is, he had conquered love 
by diverting his mind, and proposing to himself another 
object of love ; for he said that as the human soul cannot 
exist without some love, the whole secret lies in giving to 


it coaly what is good^ pure^ and holy. Anger, on the other 
band, he had subdued by attacking it in fix)nty and never 
yielding to it at all. Whence it happened that though he 
yrsa naturally passionate, lie was thought to be of a gentle 

19. Svery time that one sees himself urged on, with vehemence 
of affection, to any particuhu: work, even though it be holy and im- 
portant, he ought to put it off to another occasion, and not take it up 
Sgain until his heart has recovered perfect tranquillity and indif- 
ierence. This should be done to prevent self-love from sullying the 
purity of our intention.— i6!(. V, de Pdkul. 

The Saint who gives this advice, practised it fidthfiilly 
himself. One day, a business proposition was made to him, 
that was very important for his Congr^ation. When he 
was urged by some of them to give his consent to it immedi- 
ately, he answered : " I do not think we ought to pay atten- 
tion to this matter at present, that we may blunt the natu- 
ral inclination, which leads us to pursue promptly what is 
to our own advantage, and also that we may practise holy 
indifference, and give time to God to manifest His will 
to us, while we continue offering our prayers to recommend 
the a£Eur to Him.^' Another time, when some one impor- 
tuned him about a similar matter, his reply was this : *^ I 
desire always to keep up the practice of not deciding or 
undertaking anything while I find myself agitated by the 
hope and desire of something great.'' Still another incident 
is even more admirable. As he saw, by experience, the 
great utility of missions, he embraced them with much fervor 
and earnestness. But when he perceived that his thoughts 
and ardent desires were gradually taking away the peace of 
heart he had hitherto enjoyed, he began to suspect that 
nature might have some part in them ; therefore, he 
esteemed it necessary to interrupt this exercise for some time. 
The better to understand the movements of his heart, he re- 



tired for a few days of spiritual retreat, and peroeiving in 
this that his great gladness and exce^sive solicitude were, 
in part, caused by self-love, he asked pardon of God with 
many tears, praying Him to change his heart and purify it 
from every inordinate affection, to the greater glory of His 
divine majesty. Afterwards, he found himself quite free ^ 
from all anxiety and superfluous care, nor had he any other L, 
object than the Divine love ; so that he was able to thank 
God that for thirty years he was not conscious of having 
done anything deliberately that was not directed to His ja 
greater glory. 

St. Francis de Sales once stopped in the course of a jour- 
ney to visit St. Jane Frances de Chantal, who had been 
eagerly expecting him, that she might confer with him about 
her own spiritual interests. She was the more desirous of 
doing this, because she had enjoyed no such opportunity for 
three years and a half, on account of the numerous occupa- 
tions in which he was engaged. When they met, the holy 
prelate said : " We have a few hours free. Mother ; which 
of us two shall be the first to speak ?" " Myself,'^ she 
answered, with some haste, " for certainly my soul greatly 
needs to pass under your eye.^' At this, the Saint, wishing 
to correct the anxiety she showed about speaking to him, 
with serious but gentle gravity rejoined : " Do you then 
still nourish desires, Mother ? Have you yet a choice ? I 
expected to find everjrthing angelic. We will then put off 
speaking of you until we meet next, and for the present 
talk about the affairs of our Congregation." The good and 
holy Mother, without a word of objection, laid aside all that 
related to herself, though she was holding in her hands a 
list of things she had wished to speak of; and for four 
successive hours they discussed the interests of the Insti- 
tute, and then parted. 


St. Dorotheus^ being sick and hearing raw ^gs recom- 
mended as a remedy^ after some time told his master of it, 
b bat, at the same time^ he asked him not to give them to 
bim, because the thought of them was a distraction to him. 

20. Do not weary thyself io vain ; for thou wilt never succeed in 
possessing true spiritual sweetness and satisfaction, unless thou first 
deny all thy desires.— /Sl^. John of ihA Grou, 

The Abbot EUem, as we read in the Lives of the Fathers, 
saw a honey-comb hanging from a rock, and some fruit that 
had Mien from a tree ; but he abstained from them. He 
then fell into a sleep, from which he was wakened by an 
angel, when he found himself by the side of a fountain, 
surrounded by the freshest herbs, some of which he ate, 
and declared that he had never before tasted so great a 

Eriberto Eosveido relates of St. Macarius of Alexandria, 
that, to overcome drowsiness, which annoyed him greatly, 
he never entered his cell for twenty consecutive days and 
nights ; and when he was compelled by necessity to take 
some sleep, he took it with his head resting against a wall. 
He also says that being grievously assailed by sensual temp- 
tations, he remained for six months in a swamp, with his 
naked body exposed to the stings of the gnats, which in 
that regiou are as large as wasps ; and when he came out 
he was so covered with swellings and sores that he looked 
Uke a leper. The Saint also once said of himself that he 
never took what he desired either of bread or water, but al- 
ways took bread by weight, and water by measure ; and that 
by mortifying his appetites in this manner, he merited so 
many graces from God, and advanced so much in the love 
and knowledge of Him, that he was wont to pass whole days 
and nights uninterruptedly in the sweetest contemplation. 


21, 8om6 pursue their own taste and satisfaction in spiritutl things 
in preference to the way of perfection, which consists in denjring their 
own wishes and tastes for the love of God. If such persons perform 
some exercise through obedience, even though it suit their indinsr 
tion, th^ soon lose the wish for it, and all devotion in it, becanse 
their only pleasure is in doing what their own will directs, which 
ordinarily would be better left undone. The Saints did not act thus. 
—-&, John of the Orou, 

The blessed Seraphino^ a Capuchin lay-brother, said to a 
friend that he would be glad to be in the house of Loietto 
or at Borne, that he might serve as manj Masses as possi- 
ble. When it was suggested that he might ask this fiivor 
of the Superiors, who would have readily granted it, he re- 
plied : ^^ Oh, not that ! Any holy desire would be pro&ned 
by one's own will, and every good intention ought to be 
subject to obedience, the only true directress of all holy 

St. Felix the Capuchin never did anything without the 
consent and express wish of his Superiors, though his em- 
ployment of seeking alms would give occasion for some 
liberty. And when these Superiors, being well acquainted 
with his integrity and virtue, were accustomed to leave 
everything at his free disposal, he, instead of being pleased 
at this, found it rather a cause of sorrow and bitterness, as 
he saw that it hindered that entire subjection and depend- 
ence, which he desired so much, and constrained him to do 
his own will, which he abhorred extremely. 

22. If we do not pay great attention to mortifying our own will, 
there are many things that can take from us that holy Uber^ of 
spirit, which we seek in order to be able to mount freely towards 
our Creator, without being always weighed down with earth and 
lead. Besides, in a soul that belongs to itself, and is attached to its 
own will, there can never be solid virtue.— /8S(. Tere$a 

St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi said, one day, that, she 


aiked nothing of the Lord except that He would take her 
own will from her ; for she knew that through the viva- 
cily of her disposition^ she did not advance so much as she 
desirei in those virtues which render a soul most pleasing 
to the Lord. After sajing this^ she raised her eyes to 
heaven, and fell into an ecstasy, in which she was shown 
by Qod how much harm is done to souls, especially those 
of Religious, when they are guided by their own will, which 
they once consecrated to Gt)d by vow. In thecourse of the 
ecstasy, she took her Superior by the hand, and led her 
to the oratory, where she knel t and prayed the Virgin to en- 
lighten her Superior also, that she might take pains to de- 
spoil her of her will ; and aftier prostrating herself three 
times upon the ground, she recovered from her trance. She 
was so much in earnest in this matter, that she once said she 
did not remember ever to have tried, either secretly or 
openly, to incline the will of her Superior to her own. 

88. Make it your constant effort to mortify and trample under 
foot yoor own will, to such a degree as not to satisfy it in anything, 
if it be possible. Be careful, therefore, to desire and rejoice that it 
may be often crossed ; and when you see any one oppose it either in 
tamporal or spiritual things, follow his will rather than your own. 
If only his be good, even though your own be better. For, contend- 
ing with another, by lessening your humility, tranquillity, and peace, 
win always inflict upon you a loss greater than the advantage 
brought by any exercise of yirtue performed through your own will, 
in opposition to another's.— /Si^. Vincent Ferrer, 

St Catherine of (}enoa practised this. She loved to sub- 
mit her preference to that of others, in all things ; and if a 
wish to pursue any course arose in her own mind, it was 
sufficient to make her avoid it. 

When Father Thomas Sanchez would go to his Supe- 
riors to make a request, he used first to ask God, if it might 


be according to His pleasure, to move their hearts to lefiue 

24. Thou oughtest not to let a day pass in which thou hast not 
trampled upon thy will ; and if such a thiog should happen, consider 
that on that day thou hast not been a Religious.-'/SJt. Jchn CUmacui, 

St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi was extremely fond of not 
doing her own will, and made a study of it, so that she re- 
garded that day as utterly lost in which she had not in 
some manner broken and denied it. 

25. Do you know what is the highest degree of abnegation of 
one's own will ? It consists in allowing ourselres to be employed 
in such things as others choose, without ever making any resistance. 
—8t, F. de Salet, 

When St. Basil was visiting the monasteries of his dio- 
cese, he asked an abbot if he had no monk who showed, 
more than the rest that he belonged to the number of th^ 
predestinate. The Abbot presented to him one who wa^ 
very simple. The Saint ordered him to bring some water^ 
and when he had quickly brought it, told him to sit dowik. 
and wash his feet, which he did immediately, without show- 
ing the slightest reluctance. The following day, as he was 
going into the sacristy, he bade him approach the altar, as 
he wished to ordain him priest ; and he received the priest- 
hood without any resistance. From these things, the Saint 
considered him dead to his own will and his own judgment, 
and therefore worthy to be held as one of the predestinate. 
A little while after, some strangers entered his cell by night, 
took him, and led him unresistingly into their country, and 
there shut him up in a wretched hut, where he remained 
quietly, without a word to any one. But a few days after, 
some men from another r^ion took him out, still without 
a word on his part, and carried him away to the place fix>m 


winch they came^ and there he stayed contentedly, as one 
dead to the world. 

26. The greatest gift one can receive from God in this world is 
wisdom, power and will to conquer himself, by denying self-will. 
-8t, FrancU of Aanii, 

The Abbot Pastor had the highest opinion of this exer- 
cise, and used to say that our own will is an iron wall that 
disunites and separates us from God. 

St. Colette, of the Order of St. Francis, often said that 
she thought it a greater mortification to deny one's own judg- 
ment and will than to abandon all the riches in the world, 
and therefore she practised it to the utmost of her ability. 

St. Bernard also entertained the same sentiments, and 
said that all evils spring from a single root, which is self- 

27. Take heed not to foster thy own judgment, for, without doubt, 
it will inebriate thee ; as there is no difference between an intoxi- 
cated man and one full of his own opinion, and one is no more capa- 
ble of reasoning than the other.— -iSif. F. de Sales. 

The blessed Alexander Sauli, a Corsican bishop, always 
asked others' advice in the affairs of his diocese, not trust- 
ing to his own opinion. He considered himself ignorant 
and totally unfit for the duties of his ofiice, though he had 
been a famous professor of theology and director of St. 
Charles, and had even been called the ideal of bishops. 

St. Francis di Paula, though endowed with the gift of 
prophecy, in doubtftil cases always took counsel, even in 
the smallest matters, and with his own subjects. 

28. Every one has opinions of his own, nor is this opposed to vir- 
tue. It is only the love and attachment we have to our own opin- 
ions, Mid the high value we set on them, which is infinitely contrary 


to our perfection. This it the last thing to be abandoned, and tiM 
cause why so few are perfect.— 30. F. de 8alsi. 

This Saint succeeded in abandoning iliis last thii^ so 
that he was once able to write to a friend, that he had no 
such attachment to his own opinion as to wish any one ill 
who did not follow it, and that he did not daim that his 
sentiments should serve as a rule to any one. 

The venerable Father John Leonardi, founder of tlie 
R^ular Clerics of the Mother of God, although he was 
gifted with the highest d^ree of prudence, and had brought 
to a successful issue many affiiirs of great note, nevertheless 
depended so much upon the advice of his subjects, nay 
even of the young and inexperienced among them, that he 
never decided on anything of importance without first hear- 
ing their opinion and gaining their approval. Often he 
even followed their judgment in preference to his own. 

Father Suarez, though he possessed much talent and 
learning, often gave his books even to his pupils to be 
revised; and if one of them disapproved of anything, he 
altered it with great readiness. St. Vincent Ferrer also had 
so little r^ard for his own opinion that he gave his writ- 
ings to his companions to be reviewed, even though they 
were inferior to him in learning ; and he did this not only 
when he was a student, but afterwards when a lecturer. 

29. The true and only remedy for this eyil, is to make little Re- 
count of what suggests itself to our mind. When asked for our opin 
ion, let us giye it frankly, but with indiiference as to whether or 
not it be accepted and approved, and let us be careful to follow the 
Judgment of others rather than our own, whenever it can be laif- 
f ully done.— iS^ F. de SaUa. 

It is narrated in the Lives of the Fathers that when the 
Abbot John, who was very celebrated for holiness, was 
about to die, his disdples begged him to leave them aome 


good advice for acquiring perfection. He replied to them : 
''^118 I can tell you : I have labored not according to my 
own judgment, but according to the judgment of others ; 
nor have I ever commanded another to do anything, with- 
out having first done it myself 

St Jane Frances de Chantal had a mind at once lofty, 
and quick to reach the point at which it aimed. But for 
all this, when she was asked for advice in important affairs, 
she never trusted wholly to the knowledge she had ac- 
quired by long experience, but besides having recourse to 
God in prayer, she wished to consult with her spiritual 
fiilihers and with persons acquainted with those affairs. She 
would then express her own sentiments in this way, — ^^ This 
Is my opinion, but take in addition the advice of some 
one wiser and more judicious." 

St. Vincent Ferrer, in matters relating to the direction 
and government of that Order of which he was the head, as 
a general thing, followed the wishes and opinions of his 
companions rather than his own. 

80. At to be holy is nothing else than to wiU what God wills, so 
to be wise is nothing else than to Judge of things as God Judges of 
them. Now, who knows whether thy sentiments be always in con- 
formity with those of God ? How many times hast thou discoyered 
thyself to be deceived in thy Judgments and decisions ?— 5^. V, de 

St. Vincent de Paul excelled in this mortification of his 
own judgment. He was gifted with so much foresight that 
he was considered one of the most prudent men of his time ; 
yet he always distrusted himself^ and in all his affairs had 
recourse not only to God, but also to men. He would ask 
their opinion, and follow it rather than his own, as &r as 
justice and charity permitted, even though they had but 
little talents or were his inferiors. When he was asked for 


advice^ after raising his mind for a moment to Grod, he 
gave it, not settling things arbitrarily^ but explaining his 
views with modesty^ and leaving the person to decide for 
himself. His way of speaking was : ^^ It seems that it 
might be done so." " There would be this reason^ which 
seems to lead to such a conclusion." And if he was urged 
to decide absolutely, he would say : " It seems to me tiliat 
it would be well or expedient to do such a thing, — ^to act 
in such a way." Besides, he always preferred, and himself 
suggested, that the opinion of others also should be asked, 
and was pleased to have it followed mther than his own ; 
not because he did not usually know best, on account of his 
long experience and the great light he received from God, 
but purely from love of submission and mortification, and 
because of his great love of humility, which made him es- 
teem every one better than himself. At a meeting of the 
Ladies of Charity, an institution established by him, to 
promote several pious objects, a matron present observed 
this trait. She informed the servant of God of it very 
gracefully, at the end of the conference, expressing to him 
her surprise that he would not support his views, which 
deserved to be preferred to all the others. *^ May it nevCT 
be," he answered, " that my poor, weak judgment should 
prevail over that of others ! I shall always rejoice to have 
God work what He will without me, a wretched sinner." 
He was so fully persuaded that resolutions taken with 
mature consideration and the advice of others were pleas- 
ing to the Lord, that he rejected as a temptation anytiiing 
opposed to them which came into his mind. He was ac- 
customed to say that when an affair had been recommended 
to God and consulted upon with others, we ought to be 
firm in what we undertake, and believe that God will not 
impute it to us for a &ult, as we can offer this l^itimate 


ezcDse : ^ O Lord^ I recommended the affair to Thee, and 
took the advice of others, which was all that could be done 
to know Thy will.'' 

SI. The life of our flesh is the delight of seiiBuality;; its death is 

to take from it all sensible delight. The life of our Judgment and our 

will 18 to dispose of ourselyes and what is ours, according to our own 

views and wishes ; their death, then, is to submit ourselves In all 

things to the Judgment and will of others. The life of the desire for 

esteem and respect, is to be well thought of by eyery one ; its death, 

therefore, is to hide ourselves so as not to be known, by means of 

ooAtinual acts of humility and self-abasement. Until one succeeds 

in dying in this manner, he will never be a servant of God, nor will 

God ever perfectly live in him.— iS^. M, M, di Fam. 

With great frankness this beaatiM soul expressed to 
others so lofty a sentiment, because she knew that it was 
precisely in this way that, to her infinite profit, she had at- 
tained to the death of her own flesh, her own judgment and 
will, and her own human respect ;-^of her own flesh, which 
she never ceased to treat with the greatest harshness and 
rigor ; of her own judgment and will, which she always 
strove to keep subject to, and dependent upon, others ; of her 
human respect, by abhorring and avoiding constantly every 
occasion of being honored and esteemed. 

Another great example of this was the glorious St. Philip 
Neri, who chastised his body severely with hair-cloth and 
the discipline. While quite young, he lived for years al- 
most entirely upon bread and water. When he became a 
priest, he added to this spare diet only a little wine, some 
herbs or fruit, or perhaps an egg. He rarely took any 
other dairy products, or fish, or meat, or soup, except on 
account of illness, or when at table with strangers. As to 
his own judgment and will, he showed all possible earnest- 
ness in banishing all that could feed either, and in tramp- 


ling Upon both to the extent of his power. Bat he ren- 
dered himself especially admirable in combating and an- 
nihilating that r^ard for human esteem, which is so dan- 
gerous an enemy to corrupt humanity, and from whidi even 
the holiest souls are not exempt. To subdue this conunon 
adversary, he made it his object to be considered by all a 
vile and abject creature^ and took care, on every occasion, to 
give cause for such an idea of him With this intention, 
he would do things that, both at home and abroad, appeared 
like folly. 

Many examples ol this are recorded, ot wliich we will 
mention a few. Once he b^an to jump and dance in front 
of a church, where there was a great concourse of people 
on account of a festival held there, and one in the crowd 
was heard to say: ^^ Look at that old fool !" Again, meet- 
ing a water-carrier m a busy street, he asked leave to drink 
fix>m one of his casks ; and when it was granted, he put his 
mouth to the opening and drank with much apparent satis- 
&ction, while the carrier wondered that a man of his po- 
sition should drink in that way in the presence of so many 
people. Another time, he drank in the same manner from 
the flask of St. Felix the Ciapuchin, in view of many. 
Being invited, one day, to dinner by Cardinal Alexandrino, 
he took with him one of his penitents, whom he told to 
bring him a handful of beans ready cooked, concealed un- 
der his mantle. When all were seated at the table, he had 
them brought out, for the sake of appearing ill-bred. But 
the Cardinal, who knew his virtues, instead of taking the 
matter ill and despising him, asked for some himself, and 
80 did all the guests. Cardinal Gresualdo, who loved him 
tenderly, thought a coat of martin-fur would be useful to 
him, on account of bis advanced age and constant attend- 
ance in the confessional. He gave him one, exacting, at 


de game time, a promise that he would wear it. The 
Sunt kept the promise^ but made use of the occasion to 
OBUse himself to be laughed at, by wearing it all the time 
io public for a month, walking with a dignified air, and 
stopping now and then to look at it. For the same pur- 
pose, he went many times through Rome, accompanied by 
his penitents, carrying an immense bunch of flowers. 
Once when he had had his beard shaved only on one side, 
he came out in public, leaping and rejoicing, as if it were 
a great victory. 

At home he was continually doing such things. He 
often wore a pair of white slippers, with a little cap on his 
head, and a red vest, which came down to his knees, over 
his long cassock. In this costume he received whoever 
came to visit him, even if they were men of rank or great 
nobles. He kept in his room books of stories, jest-books, 
and others of a similar sort, and when gentlemen came to 
see him, especially if they were of high rank, he would 
have one of them read, and listen to it with a great show 
of attention and pleasure. He did this in a marked manner 
when Pope Clement VIII sent to him some Polish nobles, 
that they might gain fervor and edification from his dis- 
course. When he was informed that they were coming, he 
immediately told one of his household to take one of these 
books and read it to him, not stopping till he should tell him. 
When the noblemen arrived, he said to them, without dis- 
turbing himself at all : '^ Please wait till we come to the 
end of this interesting story." While the reading went on, 
he showed great attention and pleasure, like a person who 
is listening to somethi ng important and profitable. Finally 
he stopped it and said to the visitors : ^^ Have I not still 
some fine books? Was not that one worth listening to f' 
And so he went on, without uttering a word on spiritual 


subjects. The strangers remained for a time^ exchanging 
glances with one another^ and then went away astonished 
and annoyed. After they were gone, he had the book put 
away, saying, " We have done what was necessary." For 
it was precisely what he desired, — that these distinguished 
straugers should have a low opinion of hioL 



Whoewr taketh not up hu cross andfoUatoeth Me, is not worthy of Me. 

—Matt., X : 38. 

1. The cross is the true gate through which to enter into the'temple 
of holiness ; and by any other way it is not possible to come into it. 
Therefore, we ought more than once to immolate our hearts to the 
love of Jesus, upon that same altar of the cross on which He sacri- 
ficed His for love for us. 

Father Alvarez made this resolution : ^^ I will consider 
all aridity^ disquiet, and every trial which shall come to me 
in prayer, as a martyrdom, and as such I will bear them 
with constancy/' He pursued this course &ithfully for six- 
teen years, after which he had so many consolations and ce- 
lestial lights as were an abundant recompense for all the suf- 
ferings he had previously endured. 

St. Teresa bore the greatest aridity for eighteen years, 
and then to what heights was she not exalted I 

St. Bernard said of himself : " All those things that the 
world loves, such as pleasure, honors, praise, and riches, are 
to me crosses ; and all things which the world counts as 
crosses, I seek and embrace with the greatest affection." 

2. If you see that you have not yet suffered tribulations, consider 
it certain that you haye not begun to be a true servant of God ; for 
the Apostle says plainly that all who choose to live piously in Christ, 
shall suffer persecutions. — St. Augustine, 

St. Athanasius, St. Basil, St. John Chrysostom, St. Jer- 


ome, and St. Cjril were all charged with a thousand crimes^ 
and in that way were greatly afflicted. 

St Bomualdo was slanderously accused by one of his 
monks of the commission of a shameful crimen was con- 
demned, in a public assembly, to be burnt at the stake as 
a ponishment, and, in the mL time, was suspended fiom 
his fiiiictiou as a priest. But^ though he was then a cen- 
tenarian, he bore all with the greatest tranquillity. 

St. Francis Xavier was grieved when he saw everything 
going on successfolly with him in Lisbon; and if such 
&vorable circumstances had continued to exist, he would 
have thouglit that he was not serving God welL 

8. By working out our salvatioD through sufferings, the Son of 
Qod has wished to teach us that there is nothing in us so fitted to 
glorify Qvd and to sanctify our souls as suffering. Tes, yes, to sof- 
for for love of the Lord is the way of truth I Therefore, the more 
oue can suffer, the more let him suffer, for he will he the most for- 
tunate of aU ; and whoever does not resolve upon this, will never 
make much progress.— iS^. TereM, 

St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi was so much enamored of 
suffering that she said: ^^ I do not desire to die soon, because 
in heaven there is nothing to suffer ; but I desire to live a 
long time^ because I wish to suffer long for love of my 
Spouse. Nor would I have a brief martyrdom only, but 
an accumulation of pains, calumnies, misfortunes, and all 
adversities that can possibly happen to me." And when 
she went through a long and painful illness, this not 
only fiuled to extinguish in her this great thirst for suffer- 
ing, but after tasting it in such a way, she longed for it the 
more, so that while the Superior endeavored to lessen 
her hardships for the preservation of her health, she was at 
the same time seeking in every way to invent new kinds 
of sufferings, that no one would perceive. It happened 


one day, in the course of her Deist illness, that having 

oeived a marked affront, she not only bore it patiently, but 

showed signs of particular friendship for the offender. 

Then one of the Sisters manifested astonishment, she told 

her that she was glad she had not died before it occurred, 

that she might not lose such an excellent opportunity for 


4. The way Ib narrow. Whoever expects to walk in it with ease, 
must go detached from all things, leaning on the staff of the 
cross ; that is, firmly resolying to be willing to suffer in all things 
for loYe of Qod,—8t. John of the Oroa. 

Taulerus relates that he knew a great servant of Qod 
who had many visions and revelations, and was acquainted 
with the interpretation of Scripture and the secrets of hearts. 
But becoming afraid that gifts of one sort might prove a 
hindrance to &vors of another kind, and so prevent him 
from being loved by Grod, he earnestly besought the Lord 
to be pleased to take away from him every consolation ; and 
he was heard. For five years in succession, he never had 
the slightest spiritual joy nor any celestial inspiration or 
illumination, but always led a life full of afflictions, temp- 
tations, and spiritual aridity. Finally, the Lord was moved 
with pity at so much suffering, and, one day, sent two 
angels to console him a little. But he, contented in his sor- 
rows, reftised this consolation, and turning his heart to Grod, 
said : ** O Lord, I do not desire any pleasure in this world, 
nor do I wish that any one should enter my heart save Thy- 
self, O my Beloved ! for it is enough consolation for me if 
Thy holy will be done in me.'' This beautiful act of de- 
tachment pleased Grod so much that the Eternal Father pro- 
claimed him His beloved child, in these words : Ta esfilius 
Meu8 in qm Mihi bene complacui — ^Thou art My son, in 
whom I am well pleased. 


5. If any one, O Lord, does Thee a service, Thou repayest him 
by some trial. Oh, what an inesthnable reward is this for those 
who truly love Thee» if it might be given them to know its value 1~ 
8t, Teresa. 

When the venerable Marco di Palfox saw mat after he 
had done a good work; some tribulation^ reproach, or cal- 
umny came upon him, he considered this as a special &yor 
from the Lord ; " for/' he said, " as I receive no reward 
in this world, it is a sign that Gt)d means to reward me 
fully in heaven/' 

The Lord once appeared to the blessed Clara di Monte- 
felco and offered her for a gift a cross which hung from 
His neck. The Saint received the present with the great- 
est consolation ; and there was then impressed upon her 
heart au image of the crucifix, of the size of a finger. She 
preserved tliis so well that, in her last agony, when one of 
the nuns was looking for a cross upon the bed, she said to 
her, " Take my heaii;, for you will fiud the crucifix there." 
In fact, it was found there aft<er her death. 

6. O ye souls who wish to go on with so much safety and consola- 
tioD, if you knew how pleasing to God is suffering, and how much 
it helps in acquiring other good things, you would never seek con- 
solation in anything ; but you would rather look upon it as a great 
happiness to bear the cross after the Lord. — 8t, John of the Crass, 

Blessed William the Abbot, saw, one night, in a dream, 
some angels who were weaving a crown of marvellous rich- 
ness and beauty ; and when he asked them for whom they 
were making it, they said that it was for him, and would 
be finished when he had sufiered enough. 

St. Grertrude once prayed the Lord, at the time of the Car- 
nival, to show her some special service, pleasing to Him, that 
she might perform on those three days, on which He had 
to suffer so many insults from the world. The Lord made 


her tliis reply : " My daughter, you will never be able to 
do Me a greater service at any time, than bearing patiently, 
in honor of My Passion, whatever tribulation may come 
to you, whether it be interior or exterior, always forcing 

yourself to do all those things that are most contrary to 
your desires." 

The Loid appeared one day to St. Teresa, and addressed 
her thus : '^ Know that those souls are most pleasing to 
My Heavenly Father, that are tried by the very greatest 
afflictions and suiSferings !" From that time, the Saint con- 
ceived such a love for suffering, that she found no consolation 
but in bearing it ; and when she was without any trouble, 
she was disquieted, and even said that she would not 
have exchanged her trials for all the treasures in the world ; 
and she often had upon her lips those beautiful words, " To 
suffer, or to die." Afl^er her death, she appeared to one of 
the Sisters, and revealed to her that she was rewarded in 
heaven for nothing so much as for the contradiction she 
had suffered in life, and that if she could wish to return to 
earth for any reason, the only one would be that she might 
suffer something. 

7. One ounce of the cross is worth more than a million pounds of 
prayer. One day of crucifixion is worth more than a hundred years 
of all other exercises. It is worth more to remain a moment upon the 
cross, than to taste the delights of Paradise. — Ike Ven, Sister Maria 
Vittorta Angelini. 

St. Bridget onoe received and bore patiently a succession 
of trials from various persons.. One of them made an in- 
sulting remark to her ; another praised her in her presence, 
but compl lined of her in her absence; atiother calumniated 
her ; another spoke ill of a servant of God, in her presence, 
to her great displeasure ; one did her a grievous wrong, 
and she blessed her ; one caused her a loss, and she prayed 


for hep; and a seventh gave her false information of ihe 
death of her son^ which she received with tranquillity and 
resignation. After all this^ St Agnes the Martyr appeared 
to her^ bringing in her hand a most beautiful crown 
adorned with seven precious stones^ telling her that tihey 
had been placed there by these seven persons. Then she 
put it upon her head and disappeared. How could so 
much have been gained by any other exercise ? 

The Blessed Angela di Foligno, when asked how she 
was able to receive and endure sufferings with so mudi 
cheerfulness^ replied: '^Believe me, the grandeur and 
value of sufferings are not known to us. For, if we knew 
the worth of our trials, they would become for us objects of 
plunder, and we should go about trying to snatch from one 
another opportunities to suffer.^' 

8. One " Thanki be to God/* or one " Blessed be Qod/' in ad1^e^ 
■ity. la worth more than a thoaaand thanksgivings in prosperfty.— 

When St. Francis was suffering much bodily pain in 
illness, one of his monks told him that he would pray to 
God to grant him some relief. The Saint reproved him, 
and bowing his head to the ground, said : '^ O Lord, I give 
Thee thanks for this pain which I am suffering, and I 
pray Thee to be pleased to increase it. What can or should 
be more acceptable to me than this, that Thou shouldst af- 
flict me without mercy, for this is the very thing that I 
desire above all.'^ 

9. If the Lord should give you power to raise the dead. He would 
give much less than He does when He bestows suffering. By mira- 
cles you would make yourself debtor to Him, while by suffering He 
may become debtor to you. And even if sufferings had no other 
reward than being able to bear something forihat Qod wholoTes yon, 
is not this a great reward and a sufficient remuneration T Whoever 
loyes, understands what I say.^St. /. OhryiOiUni^ 


Thk Saint set so high a value on sufferings that he even 
Mid : '' I venerate St. Paul not so much for having been 
raised to the third heaven^ as for the imprisonment lie suf- 
fered. And so^ if I were asked whether I would be placed 
in heaven among the angels, or in prison with Paul, I 
would prefer the latter. And if it were left to my choice 
wftiether I should be Peter in chains, or the angel that re- 
leased him, I would certainly rather be the first than the 

St. Louis the King, when conversing with the King of 
Kngland about the slavery he endured in Turkey, in which 
he suffered many trials, expressed himself in this man- 
ner : ^^ I thank Grod for the ill success of that war, and I re- 
joice more at the patience which the Lord granted me at 
that time, than if I had subjugated the country.^' 

The Lord once appeared to the Blessed Baptista Yerrani, 
and said to her : ^^ Believe, My daughter, that I liave shown 
you greater love in sending you afflictions, than in lavish- 
ing upon you every mark of tenderness. In what could I 
show My love more than in seeking for you what I chose 
for Myself? Kiiow that to keep from sin is a great good, 
to perform good works a greater, but the greatest of all is 
to suffer.'^ 

10. It ought to be considered a great misforlune, not only for in- 
diYiduals, but also for Houses and Congregations, to have every- 
thing in conformity with their wishes ; to go on quietly, and to 
suffer nothing for the love of God. Tes, consider it certain that a 
person or a Congregation that does not suffer and is applauded by 
all the world, is near a fall. — St. V, de Paul, 

How fully St. Vincent was persuaded of this truth, he 
showed by the manner in which he informed his disciples 
of a considerable loss which had befallen the house. '^ As 
I bad been considmng/' he said^ ^^ for $, long time, how 


happily the affairs of the Congr^ation were going on, 
how well everything sucoeeded, I began to be much ai 
of this calm, for I knew that Qod is accustomed to 
His servants. But blessed be the Divine Goodness, whii 
has deigned to visit us with a very considerable loss.'^ 

A holy old man, who was very often sii^k, was mu( 
grieved at passing a whole year without an illness, raying 
that God must have abandoned him, as He had ceased to 
visit him. 

Sts. Francis and Andrew Avellino entertained the same 
sentiments. They thought on any day when they suffered 
nothing for the love of God, that He had forgotten and 
abandoned them. 

One night when Father Avila was sick, his i>ain in- 
creased excessively after the candle went out, and the at- 
tendants had gone to sleep. He was unwilling to awake 
them, but after a while, overcome by the sharpness of the 
pain, he prayed the Lord to be pleased to deliver him from 
such agony. He then fell asleep, and on awaking, found 
himself free from pain. Whereupon, he said to one of his 
disciples, " What a severe blow the Lord has dealt me this 
night !" By this he meant that in hearing his prayer, God 
had taken from him the occasion of suffering and of merit- 

11. We have never so much cause for consolation, as when we find 
ourselves oppressed by sufferings and trials ; for these make us like 
Christ our Lord, and this resemblance is the true mark of our pre- 
destination.— iSS^. V. de Paid, 

No one has understood this great truth so well as St. 
Andrew the Apostle. At first sight of the cross on which 
he was to be crucified, he was filled with joy, and broke forth 
into this exclamation : ^^ O cross so much desired, so much 


[, and so mnch sought by me I behold how I come to 
full of security and joy I Do thou separate me fix>m 
t, and restore me to my Master^ so that by thy means He 
ly reoeive me, who by tby means redeemed me.^' 
The Lord once said to St. Gertrude : ^^ The more you 
aie tried, and the more your way of life is disapproved with- 
out any fault of your own, the dearer you will be to Me, 
on account of the increased resemblance to Me, which you 
will thus attain ; for any one who greatly resembles a king, 
IB usually very dear to him ; and I lived in constant suffer- 
ing, and was opposed in all I did.'' 

When St. Matilda was suffering from a severe illness, 
Jesus Christ came to her, and told her that when He beheld 
persons grievously afflicted and tormented. He embraced 
them with His left arm, to draw them very near His heart 

3 12. There is no more evident sign that any one is a saint and of the 
nnmber of the elect, than to see him leading a good life and at the 
' j same time a prey to desolation, suffering, and trials.— ^8!^. A. 
1 1 Goneaga, 

Because St Ignatius Loyola was perfect ana dear to Gtxl, 
. persecutions came upon him to such an extent, that it would 
I often hi^pen that while he was at a distance, his companions 
lived in great tranquillity, and immediately upon his re- 
turn, some trial would &11 upon the house. 

St Teresa once received some money from a merchant 
who recommended himself to her prayers. A little while 
after, she said to him : ^^ I have prayed for you, and it has 
been revealed to me that your name is written in the Book 
of Life ; and as a token of this, nothing in future will go on 
prosperously with you." And this came to pass exactly ; 
for, within a short time, all his ships were lost, and he be- 
came bankrupt When his friends heard of these disas- 



ters^ they provided him with another ship^ which i\ as sfM 
Boon wrecked. Then^ of his own accord^ he entered the ddbt^ 
ors' prison. But his creditors^ knowing how good he mm^ 
would not harm him, and set him free. Having thus he* 
come poor^ he ended his life like a saint^ content with God 

18. If God causes you to suffer much, it Is a sign that He has grssi 
designs for you, and tliat He certainly intends to make you a saint 
And if you wish to become a great saint, entreat Him yoursdf to 
give you much opportunity for suffering ; for there is no wool 
better to kindle the fire of holy love than the wood of the crosi^ 
which Christ used for His own great sacrifice of boundless chari^. 
^St, Ign, Loyola, 

Joseph suffered great afflictions and trials from hk 
brethren^ and these formed precisely the way by which 
the Lord led him to his great exaltation. 

St. Teresa^ who was formed for so lofty a destiny^ suffered 
incredible trials from all sorts of people^ even from the 
good and spiritual. Many considered her deluded by the 
devil. Many ridiculed her prayers and revelations. Some 
wished to exorcise her as possessed. Others accused her 
to the Holy Office ; and she suffered^ besides^ much opposi- 
tion and trouble from her Superiors^ in r^ard to the mon- 
asteries which she' founded. 

14. There is no better test to distinguish the chaff from the grain, 
in the Church of God, than the manner in which sufferings, con- 
tradiction, and contempt are borne. Whoever remains unmoved 
under these, is grain. Whoever rises against them, is chaff ; and the 
lighter and more worthless he is, the higher he rises, —that is, the 
more he is agitated, and the more proudly he replies.—^. Av^iwUns. 

A person of high rank presented himself to St. Francis 
de Sales^ to ask a benefice for an ecclesiastic who enjoyed 
his patronage. The Saint replied that as to conferring bene* 


loeB he had tied his own hands^ for he had decided that 
Ifaey should be given only after a oompetitive examination ; 
but that he would not forget his recommendation^ if this 
priest would offer himself to be examined with the others* 
The gentleman^ who was quick-tempered, believing this to 
be only a pretext for refusal, accused him of duplicity and 
hTpocrisy, and even threatened him. When the Saint per- 
ceived that gentle words did no good, he entreated him not 
to object at least to a private examination ; and, as he was 
itill dissatisfied, ** Then,'' said St. Francis, ** you wish that 
I should entrust to him a portion of my charge with my 
^es dosed ? Consider whether that is just P' At this, the 
gentleman b^an to raise his voice angrily, and to make all 
af innds of insulting remarks to the holy bishop, who bore all 
ID unbroken silence. 
An acquaintance of his, who was present, asked him, aft^er 
B^ the scene was over, how he had been able to endure such in- 
salts without showing the least resentment. ^^ Do not be as- 
txmished at this,'' said the Saint, ^^ for it was not he that 
m spoke, but his anger. Outside of this he is one of my dear- 
e est friends, and you will see after a while that my silence 
a-) will increase his attachment for me." '^ But did you not 
hj feel any resentment at all ?" pursued the other. " I turned 
' my thoughts in another direction," was the answer, " set- 
) ting myself to consider the good qualities of this person, 
1^ whose friendship I had previously so much enjoyed." The 
j gentleman aflierwards came and asked pardon, even with 
e' tears, and they became firmer friends than ever before. 
One day, as St. Felix the Capuchin was going through 
the street in Rome, with a flask of wine on his back, he 
met a gentleman on a spirited horse, which he spurred so 
furiously that it trample upon one foot of the servant of 
^ Qod, who fell to the ground. The flask wa& broken, and 


132 ▲ vfiAJt wrm tOB aAnits. 

the wine ran out upon the pavement^ mingled with <3m. 
blood which flowed freely from the wouud. All the by* 
standers^ afl&ighted at the accident^ expressed their pity for 
the Saint. He alone retained his usual serenity of ooon- 
tenance^ and looking at the gentleman with a mild glance, 
asked his pardon for his imprudence and rudeness in ob- 
structing his path. The rider^ however^ instead of ap- 
preciating so much virtue^ was angry ^ and with a haughty 1 
look and without a word of answer^ spurred his horse ^ 
and rode proudly away. Brother Felix, being assisted to i 
rise^ by those who liad gathered around^ went back to his 
monastery as best he might. As he was not able to walk 
quickly for some time, on account of the injury to his foot^ 
he used to say to himself: ^^ G^ on, you beast of an ass I ' 
what are you loitering for ? Tou are so slow and spiritless ' 
that you will deserve the stick T Then turning his heart 4 
to Ood^ he would break forth into devout thanksgivings ' 
for His infinite goodness. But after the gentleman had ^ 
recollected himself a little, and reflected upon the wrong he 
had done by his scornful treatment of an innocent and 
holy Religious, he went the next day to the monastery, 
and falling on his knees before the Saint, b^ged pardon 
for the proud and cruel treatment he had given him. The 
servant of God forgave him with so much cordiality and 
coui'tesy, that he resolved to change his habits and his whole 

This beautiful truth was known even to Pagan philoso- 
phers. St. Basil relutes of Socrates, that when he was 
one day struck in the &ce, in the public square, by one of 
the rabble, he not only showed no anger at such an insult, 
but, with tranquil mind and serene countenance, stood quite 
still until his fiice was livid with blows. Still more remarka- 
ble is this anecdote of Epictetus. One day, his master, 

AWtlL.— PATIENCE. 133 

who bad a violent temper^ gave him a blow on one 1^. He 
add to him coolly^ that he had better take care not to break 
jit ; and when^ by repeated blows, his master actually broke 
the bone, Epictetus added, without any emotion : '^ Did I 
sot tell you that you were running a risk of breaking it?" 

15. It is certain that the true spirit is iaclined rather to afflictions, 
•ridity, di^ust» and trials, than to sweet and pleasing communlca- 
tioQs ; for it knows that the former is that following of Christ and 
thit denial of self so much inculcated by the Lord. — 8t, John pf ths 

The Lord appeared to St. Catherine with two crowns 
in His hand, one of gold, the other of thorns, and told her 
to choose whichever she preferred. She chose the second. 
Fhnn that time she conceived so great a love for afflictions 
and trials, that she said : '^ There is nothing that consoles 
as 80 much, and gives me so much comfort, as afflictions 
aod crosses, and it seems to me that if I had not this sup- 
port from time to time, I should live the most wretched life 
in the world * and if God should give me my choice whether 
to go now into Paradise or to remain a little longer here 
- to suffer, I should choose the latter rather than the former, 
for I know how much glory is increased by sufferings.'' 

The blessed Maria d'Ognes used to sleep with the ground 
I for her bed, a stone for her pillow, and hair-cloth for a 
blanket. Being, one day, tried beyond measure by the 
pains of paralysis, she uttered such mournful sighs that a 
koly man prayed to God for her, and she was relieved from 
her illness. But when she was sensible of the cure, she 
lent to ask the Saint not to pray for her any more, saying 

»that she valued sickness much more than health. 


16. Those who have arrived at perfection, and especially true con- 
liBjiJiUtiS, do not ask the Lord to free them from trials and tiQm.\^« 



tations. They rather desire and value them at worldlings Tain 
gold and Jewels, for they know that these are to make them iidi.^Jlc 
8t. Teresa. 

St. Catherine of Genoa once said in the midst of 
pain and severe torture : " O Lord ! it is thirtynsix yi 
since Thou first gavest me spiritual light, and ever sinoe, I 
have desired nothing but sufferijigs, interior and extericnr.'-' 

The Venerable Anna Maria of St. Joseph, a Di8calcei|if: 
Carmelite, and a person of no ordinary piety, exercised het' 
self continually in the sharpest penances and austerities. |^ 
When the others tried to turn her away from these practioeB^ 
she replied : ** No, I will never cease until the Lord satiata 
me with His griefs and reproaches.'' She often said, too^ 
that she wished for neither relics, nor rosary, nor a cell, 
nor anything but a cross upon which to crucify herself." 

St. Francis Xavier, when he had a cross, used to make 1^ 
this prayer: "O Lord, do not take it away from me,L 

unless to give me a greater." 



17. Kiss frequently the crosses which the Lord sends you, and with 
all your heart, without regarding of what sort they may he ; for 
the more vile and mean they are, the more they deserve their 
name. The merit of crosses does not consist in their weight, but in 
the manner in which they are borne. It may show much greatex It 
virtue to bear a cross of straw than a very bard and heavy one, be- I 
cause the light ones are also the most hidden and contemned, and |^ 
therefore least conformable to our inclination, which always seelu 
what is showy.— /Si. F, de ScUee. 

In the many long and painful journeys made by this 
Saint, he was never heard to complain of cold, or wind, or 
the heat of the sun, or the quality of his food ; but he took 
all things peacefiiUy from the hand of God, and was particu- 
larly pleased with the worst and most inconvenient articles, 
Bad when he could, lie aWays dio^ \k<^tci ^^^ \xvBQfi(d£ 


Mention is made in the Chronicles of St Dominic of a 
ovioe of that Order, who died in the monastery of Argen- 
ina, and who opened his eyes unexpectedly, while the Belig- 
jkiis were saying the last prayers for his soul, and said : ^^ Lis- 
m, dearest Brothers : I am like one who goes to a &ir, and 
lays a great deal for a little money. Behold, I am reoeiv- 
log the kingdom of heaven for a few trials, and I do not 
lee how I deserve it.^' Having spoken thus, he reposed in 
Die Lord. 

St. John Climacus says that he found in a monastery a 
iroang monk who received little penances from the Superior 
br trifling &ults, and haughty and discourteous treat- 
ment from almost all the rest. The Saint showed sympa- 
ikj for him, and wished to console him ; but the good youth 
said : " Father, do not give yourself any trouble. They 
treat me in this way, not because they have bad dispositions 
md little charity, but the Lord permits it to exercise me 
in patience, which is necessary to show whether I am serv- 
ing God truly. Certainly I have no cause to complain, 
Tor even gold is not made perfect without being tried.'' 
rwo years after, added the holy Abbot, this youth passed 
bo a better life, saying to his Brothers before he expired : 
^^ I render thanks to Jesus Christ and to you. Fathers, and I 
testify that through having been tried by you to my profit 
and advancement, I have lived free from the snares of the 
devil, and now depart in peace." 

In the Lives of the Fathers, a story is told of a holy 
monk who every night gave his disciple an instruction, and 
afterwards sent him to rest. Now, one evening, while giv- 
ing it, the old man fell asleep, and the good novice, while 
waiting for him to awake, was much tempted to impatience 
and to go away to sleep. He conquered himself, however, 
eeven timeS; with great earnestness and fervor, At mid- 


nighty the old man awoke and dismissed him. WliUa 
ing his final prayers^ the old Father had a vision of 
angel^ who showed him a most beautiful throne^ 
seven orowns above it In answer to his questions^ the 
said that they were for his disciple, who had gained 
that night by his victory over seven temptations. Whtt : 
his disciple told him all in the morning, he was stmck wilkj 
wonder to see how bountifully God recompenses all our gooi^ 

18. If we could but know what a precious treasure lies 
in infirmities, we would receive them with as much Joy aa we 
the greatest benefits, and we would bear them without oomplaial 
any sign of annoyance.— /S^. F. ds Paul, 

This Saint was tried by many long and most punfiil i 
firmities, which often deprived liim of the use of his 
and left him no rest by day or night. He bore them all 
with unalterable tranquillity, and conversed with the 
afiability and serenity of countenance that he had when In 
was well. A word of complaint never escaped from hiif 
lips, but he praised and thanked God constantly for send-f 
i.^to him UL «,fferu^, »d looked on U». J.,«i.I », t 
vors. The most he did when the pain was at its worst, was to > 
turn to the crucifix and animate himself to patience by da-l^ 
vout interior aspirations. If he ever happened to speak ^ 
of his sufferings^ he mentioned them as a thing of no ac- -( 
county saying that he suffered little in comparison wiftk 4 
what he deserved^ or with what Christ suffered for love of i 
us. One of his household was one day applying a dressing \ 
to his limbs, which were diseased for forty years, wheiiy 'i 
moved with compassion at seeing them so swollen and i 
ulcerated, he exclaimed, ^^ Alas, how grievous are your \ 
sufferings T' But the Saint (][uickly replied ; ^* How 


JOQ apply the word grievous to the work of God^ and His 
dhrine arrangement in causing a miserable sinner to suffer ? 
y God pardon you for what you have just said ! This 
not the way to speak in the school of CSirist I Is it not 
l^ht that the guilty should suffer and be chastised? 
And cannot the Lord do with us whatever pleases Him V* 
> Once writing of hissufferingstoanintimatefiiend^hesaid: 
^ I did not wish to let you know of my sickness^ fearing it 
would make you sad. But God is good I How long shall 
we be so weak that we shall not have courage to reveal to 
4»ie another the graces and &vors God bestows on us in 
liaiting us with sickness ? May it please His divine good- 
ness to give us a little more spirit^ that we may find our 
flatifi&ction in His I'^ Through all his illnesses he never 
ceased to take an interest in the affairs of the house and 
of the whole CSongr^ation. He received persons of all sorts^ 
whether belonging to his Order or not^ if they came to him 
<m business or for other reasons^ and always with such a 
wniling &oe and with so much amiability and serenity that 
if they had not known his state of health from others^ they 
would have considered him well. Neither did such great 
infirmities cause him to change his usual mode of life. 
Up to his death he continued to sleep on straw^ and to take 
the common food. When the physicians and some persons 
of rank tried to persuade him to take delicacies; he did. so 
(mce or twice to please them^ but immediately returned to 
what he generally ate^ under the pretext that his stomach 
would not bear other food. 

When St. Felix the Capuchin was suffering severely from 
ooliOy he was asked; by the doctor, how he felt; and answered : 
"The wicked ass of a body would be glad to escape the 
sticky but it must stand and receive the blow." When he 
urged to have recourse to the divine aid^ by invoking 


the most holy name of Jesus^ from whom he might expect 
relief—" What do you say V cried the Saint ; " to what J 
do you advise me ? Never ! These are not pains^ but celes- 1 
tial flowers which Paradise produces, and the Lord shares ^ 
among His children.'^ Then he b^an to praise and bless 
the Divine Goodness which dealt thus with him. 

19. There are some sick persons who grieve and lament not so 
much for their own troubles, as for what they cause to those around 
them, and because they cannot occupy themselves in good works, 
and especially in prayer, as they did when they were well. In this 
they deceive themselves greatly, for as to the trouble given to others, 
whoever is truly patient wishes for all that God wishes, and in the 
manner and with the inconveniences that He wishes ; as to works, 
one day of suffering borne with resignation, is worth more than a 
month of great labors ; and as to prayer, which is better : to remair 
upon the cross with Christ, or to stay at the foot of it and contem- 
plate His sufferings ? Besides, to offer to the Lord His own weakness, ^ 
to remember for whom it was suffered, and to conform ourselves to J 
His holy will, is certainly a very excellent prayer.— iS^. F, de ScUa, | 

This Saint bore well not only the afflictions and triak 
which came to him^ but also their consequences^ such as the 
inconveuience which his illnesses caused those who waited 
on him or lived with him. And in all other things it was 
the same. 

Father Alvarez saw, in a trance, the great glory which 
God had prepared for a nun who was tried by a most 
grievous illness, which she bore with all possible patience. 
He said that she had merited more in eight months of sick- 
ness than some healthy and devout persons in many years, 

St. Ald^onda, having been forewarned of the day of 
her death, prayed the Lord to send her first some paiufiil 
disease, that, purified by it, she might fly the more lightly to 
heaven. She was heard, for there came to her an acute 
fever with very sharp pain. In this state she rejoioed| 


ooQsideriiig the fever a refreshing coolness ; the pain^ oon- 
fldlation ; and the sweats^ a soothing bath by which she 
dionid be thoroughly purified for her flight to heaven. 

While St. Francis was suffering very acute pain in his 
eyeSf he gave thanks constantly to God^ and prayed to Him 
for perseverance in His service. One day, the Lord said to 
him : "Rejoice, Francis, for the treasure of eternal life is 
in store for you, and these pains are a pledge of it.'' 

When St. Vincent de Paul was seriously ill, he used to 
practise a method of prayer, which was easy and pleasant, 
aiid at the same time profitable. It was to remain quietly 
in tlie presence of God, without forcibly applying his intel- 
lect to any considerations, only exciting his soul to frequent 
acts of resignation to the will of God, confidence, love, or 

30. Observe that we gain more in a single day by trials which come 
to us from God and our neighbor,than we would in ten years by pen- 
ances and other exercises, which we take up of ourselyes.—- i8l(. 
> Tcreta. 


St. Lionina, after suffering for thirty-eight years from a 
cruel disease, longed to endure yet greater pains, and to 
' finish her course as a martyr. While she was burning 
with this desire, she was uplifted in an ecstasy, and saw a 
most beautiful crown, still unfinished, which she was told 
was in preparation for her. Eager to have it completed, 
she prayed the Lord to increase her torments, and He sent 
two soldiers, who tortured her with blows and insults. 
Aft«r this, an angel appeared to her with a crown in his 
hand, quite finished, and told her that these last trials had 
placed in it the jewels that were previously wanting. 

An angel appeared, one day, to the blessed Hemy Susone, 
and offered him a shield, a lance, and spurs, saying: 



** Hitherto you have fought among the mfantry^ and aoir 
70Q will join the cavalry ; hitherto yoo have praotiied 
mortificatione of your own choice, now you shaU be mortt* 
fied by the scourge of evil tongues; hitherto you have en- 
joyed milk from the breast of Christ, now you shall be in- 
ebriated with His gall ; hitherto you have been pleasing 
to men, now they will rise against you." The following 
day, as the servant of Grod was meditating upon this vision, 
he felt impelled to go to the window, and on looking oot, 
he saw a goat in the court-yard, with a rag in its mouthi 
which it was pulling and tearing. Then he heard a voice 
which said : ^' Thus are you to be torn by the mouths of 
others.'^ He, thereupon, went down stairs, and picked up 
the rag, which he preserved as a precious pledge of his 

21. He has not true patience, who is willing to suffer only what 
he pleases, and from whom he pleases. The truly patient man does 
not regard the length nor the kind of his sufferings, not yet the person 
who makes him suffer, — whether he he a superior, an equal, or an in* 
ferior; whether he be a holy man or ill-disposed and dishonorable. 
His only aim is to suffer.— JL. Eempii, 

We are told, in the Lives of the Fathers, of a young mcmk 
who dwelt with an aged monk who went every mom* 
ing to the city to sell the articles which they had both made 
on the preceding day, and who spent all they brought upon 
wine for himself, bringing home only a bit of bread for the 
youth. The young man bore this way of life for three 
years ; but at last, finding himself in rags and dying of 
hunger, he began to consider whether it would not be well 
to leave such a companion and go elsewhere. Then an angel 
appeared to him and said : ^^ Have patience a little longer, 
for to-morrow you shall be with me in Paradise." He told 
this vision to the old man, who did not believe it. But the 


JbUowiog daji as Uiej were discussing the matteri the holy 
7%ath peaoefiillj expired, and Uie old man was oooverted 
an! mourned for his previous li&. 

as. The Lord sends us tribalatioii and inllnnities to giTt ns the 
mesas of paying the immense debts we hare contracted with Him. 
Therefore, those who have good sense receive them joyfully, for 
thef think more of the good which they may derive from them 
than of Sie pain which they experience on account of them.— iSC. F. 

This Sunt unfolded this same sentiment more fully in a 
sermon wkich contained this pleasing parable : There was 
a king who had in prison two men who both owed Iiim 
large sums of money. Seeing that they were unable to 
pay, because they possessed nothing, he threw down a purse 

they both felt the pain. One, angry at the blow, showed 
his impatience without making any account of the purse ; 
but the other, not regarding the pain, recognized the &vor 
done him, and, taking the purse, gave thanks to the king, 
and paid his debt with the money. ^^ Now, precisely the 
same thing happens with us," added the Saint. ^^ We all 
owe heavy debts to Grod for the many benefits we have 
received from Him, and for the many sins we have com* 
mitted against Him, nor have we anything of our own to 
pay them. Therefore, moved by pity for us, He sends us 
the gold of patience in the purse of tribulations, tiiat we 
may use it to pay our debts. Whoever will not do this, only 
increases his debts and renders himself, at the same time, 
more displeasing to God." 

The example of the two thieves crucified with Christ, 
confirms this truth. By his patience, one paid bis debts 
and gained Paradise ; while the other, by his impatience^ 


made himself more than ever a debtor, and obtained £at 
himjself eternal pains. 

Cesarius tells of a Cistercian monk who appeared to his 
Abbot in great glory the night after his deaili, and said to 
him : ^^ Know, my Father, that the sharp pains and tor- 
tures of my illness supplied for me the plaoe of puigatory 
by anticipation ; and therefore I rose directly from earth to 

23. Do not be yexed at the contradictioiis you meet in OTdinary 
intercourse, for they give an opportunity to practise the moat pre- 
cioui and amiable virtues, whidi our Lord has reconunended to us. 
Believe me that true virtue is no more reared in outward repose, 
than good fish in the stagnant water of a swamp. How shall we 
prove our love for God, who has suffered so much for ui, if not 
among contradictions and repugnances ? — St, F, da 8alei, 

The blessed Seraphino the Capuchin was once in com* 
pany with his Superiors and a young secular^ who, seeing 
him so simple, humble, wd imperturbable, took a fitncy to 
tyrannize over him and to go so &r as to slight, insult, and 
even strike him. Brother Seraphino, unmoved by all these 
insults, only said, with perfect amiability : " Ah, my little 
saint ! my little saint ?^ (It was by this name that he 
would call those who insulted him.) ^^ Let us do good in 
the service of God." 

One of the Fathers of the Desert used to imagine Jesus 
Christ standing by his side in his tribulations, and saying 
to him : ^^ You are My brother, and are you not ashamed 
to make any difficulty about suffering this, when you know 
how much I have suffered for you V^ 

24. If any house should be found where there was no monk who 
was troublesome and of a bad disposition, it would be well to look 
for one, and to pay him at a high rate for the great good that results 
ffom this evil when judiciously managed.— /S^. Bimard. 


When St. PhUip Neri was living at San Girolamo^ he 
hal a great oonoourse of penitents. The sacristans of the 
chnx^y annoyed by this^ took a dislike to him^ and did him 
all tke ill-turns they could. Sometimes, when he ^as go- 
ing to say Mass, they locked the door in his &ce ; or they 
would aot give him the sacred vestments, or only cheap and 
torn onts, with many rude and insulting remarks. Some- 
times thsy took fix>m his hands the missal and chalice, or 
hid them, or compelled him to take off his vestments when 
he alreadf had them on. Again, they would make him 
leave one altar and go to another, or perhaps back to the 
sacristy, — and all to irritate him and induce him to leave 
the place. But the holy man, without ever complaining 
of the bad treatment he received, or giving any sign of an- 
noyance, went on concealing his feelings, and praying for 
these men, treating them also with charity and respect, and 
doing them any services that he could. Though he was 
often urged by his friends to go and live elsewhere, he would 
not do it, ^^ because,^^ said he, '^ I do not wish to fly fix>m the 
cross which Grod sends me." This lasted for some years. 
Finally, seeing that he accomplished nothing by his charity 
and humility, and that his enemies, instead of being softened, 
rather increased in pertinacity, he had recourse to God for 
some relief, and, one day in particular, fixing his eyes upon 
a crucifix, he said : " O my good Jesus ! why dost Thou not 
hear me? For so long a tune, and with so much earnest- 
ness, I have asked for patience ; why hast Thou not listened 
to me ?" Then he heard a voice in his heart, which said : 
" Dost thou not ask Me for patience ? I will give it to thee, 
but it is by this means that I wish thee to gain it.'^ Thence- 
forward, he bore all with greater cheerfulness, and with 
the most perfect content, to such a degree that he no longer 
felt any. 0^ their^injuries, but greatly desired them; and 


when he was ill-ta*eated by these men^ or by others^ he 
made no aeooont of it, and did not speak of it^ nor allow it 
to be spoken of. If he ever heard any evil said of tiiOBe 
who had offended him, he promptly excused them, praised 
them, and, if it was suitable, visited and protected them. On 
this account, he acquired such a liking for the place that for 
thirty years he would never leave it. He could not be in- 
duced to abandon his beloved place of suffering, even when 
he had built the new Oratory of the new church, and many 
of his sons had gone to live there. Though they tried to 
prove to him the suitableness and the obligation of living 
with them as he was their founder and head, all their en- 
treaties and prayers were of no avail, until, finally, the 
authority of the Pope was interposed to give them success. 

d5. In this life there is no purgatoiy, but either paradise or helL 
He who bears tribulations with patience, has paradise ; he who 
does not, heU.— /SI. PhUip Iferi. 

A prisoner at the bar once called for a Jesuit Father, 
and said to him : *^ Father, I wish you to know that I, too, 
was once of your Order. For some time, I was exact in 
the observance of the Rules ; I lived content, and did 
everything with ease and pleasure. Then I began, little 
by little, to relax, till, after a time, I found so much difficulty 
and trouble in every trifle, that it seemed best to leave the 
Order. Finally, you see where my sins have brought me. 
I have told you this that my example might be of use to 

Wlien St. Francis de Sales was ill, it was a matter of great 
edification to notice how simply he told his symptoms, with- 
out exaggeration or complaint, how patiently and uncom- 
plainingly he bore them, and how he received all remedies 
without opposition. Though he sometimes suffered most 


(rael pains in his inferior nature^ he always preserved an 
noalterable serenity of brow and eye, as if he were not snf- 
ferkig at all. Thus he came to enjoy Paradise even while 
sofibring, unlike so many others, who, at every trifling pain, 
seem inpatient and inconsolable. 

36. Learn, my Sisters* to suffer something for the lo?e of God, 
without letting every one know it— iSt. Tere$a. 

On a Good Friday, the venerable Father Daponte asked 
our Lord the &vor of giving him a share in His sufferings. 
He answered by sending him fearfol pains for the rest of 
his life, which he received with the greatest possible joy. 
Once being asked how he felt, he replied : " Oh, how well 
God chastises this sinner I I tell you that except my head, 
no part of my body is without its own particular pain.'' 
A little while after, he repented of having said so much, 
and made a vow never to reveal his sufferings to any on^ 
when he could conceal them without displeasing Grod. 

St. Philip Neri, in his illnesses, which were long, seve», 
and frequent, was seen always with a cheerftd countenance 
and a serene brow ; he never gave any sign of pain, how- 
ever great it might be, nor talked about his sickness, ex* 
cept to the physicians. 

For twenty-eight years St. Clare suffered grievous in- 
firmities, and in all that time was never heard to com- 
plain of her sufferings, but instead, she thanked Grod for 

It is related, in the Live^ of the Fathers, that when the 
Abbot Stephen was sick, his companions made for him a 
fried cake, but used, by mistake, a kind of oil which was 
very bitter. The holy Abbot perceived this on tasting it, 
but ate a little, without saying an}i;hing. When another 
was made in the same way, the Abbot tasted that also, and 

146 ▲ T£AB WITH THE 8A1NTB. 

left it without a word. This would have continued loi^;eif 
if his companion^ wishing to tempt him to eat by example 
had not taken a piece himself. When he perceived how 
bitter it was, he ytbs very much grieved ; but the Abbot 
said : ^^ Do not trouble yourself about it^ my son, for if Grod 
had not willed that you should mistake one kind of oil for 
another, you would not have done it.'' 

St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi invented a great and secret 
mortification^ which she afterwards practised for the rest of 
her life. When she noticed that her Superiors, through re- 
gard for her health, tried to give her such food as she liked 
best, she showed a preference for what was disagreeable and 
unpleasant to her taste, and made it appear that those things 
which she really desired, were objects of aversion, and 
would make her ilL And so it happened that what she 
disliked W3S often given lier, and what would have suited 
her taste, was forbidden. In reward for this, she enjoyed 
imperturbable peace of soul, and the constant presence of 

97. Whoever aspires to perfeetion, must beware of saying, *' I 
was right Thej did that to me without reason." If you are not 
wiUing to bear any cross which is not given you according to reason, 
perfection is not for you.— iSi^. 2*#f0i«. 

When Brother f^dius of Tarentum, a Franciscan lay- 
brother, was roughly treated by his Superiors or compan- 
ions, or called a useless and unprofitable servant, he never 
excused himself, but said, with a smile, ^^Give it to 
Brother Ass, for he deserves much worse !" On account 
of the miracles he performed in Tarentum, crowds of peo- 
ple gathered about him, to the no small inconvenience of 
the other Brothers, so that he was sent away to the monastery 
in Bari But scarcely had he arrived^ when multitudes 


ctme to the mouastery to see hiiUi and receive aid from 
him, and the monks there, blaming him for the disorder, 
were as much displeased as the others had been. The 
Father Guardian reproved him severely in Chapter, saying 
that he was a drunkard, a fool, an idle, restless man, full 
of hypocrisy and ambition, who sought the credit of per- 
forming miracles, that he might be regarded as a saint. 
Finally, they gave him the discipline in public. He did 
not resent any of these things at all, but, without pertur* 
bation, said to himself : ^^ Yes, I am just such a wicked 
and unworthy man; you say truly. Father Guardian, 
that it is not I who work the miracles, but the Blessed 

A prelate once ordered St. Vincent de Paul to receive 
into his house a certain Religious who was engaged in pro- 
moting some special work. He did so, and gave him useful 
advice. But some persons who were not in favor of the 
work he was advocating, complained of the Saint to the 
same prelate. He, not remembering that it was in pursu- 
ance of his own order, called for St. Vincent, and in pres- 
ence of these persons gave him a sharp reproof, which he 
received calmly and without a word of self-justification. 
God, however, brought back to the mind of the prelate the 
Gonmiand he had given, and meeting the Saint one day, he 
made him a suitable apology, and formed a high opinion of 

St. Peter Martyr was visited, one day, by three holy vir- 
gins, and from this accused of admitting women into his 
room, condemned in public chapter, and sent to a remote 
monaetery ; but he bore all this disgrace without a word. 

S6. If we should regard tribulations with the eye of a Cbristian, 
and wholly clear from our minds those mists of worldly wisdom, 
which oppose t)ie rays of Faith, and do not allow them to penetrate 


to the depths of our souls ; how fortunate should we consider oo^ 
selTes in being eelumnisted, and regarded not only as idle and in- 
capable, but even as bad and vicious 1 Is it not, indeed, a great hap- 
piness to be persecuted in doing well, when Christ lias called Ihoss 
blessed who suffer for justice ?— fi^. F. ds Paul 

For this reason the ApoBtles went away cheerful and con- 
tented, when they found themselves assailed and persecuted 
by the chief men of the synagogues. St. Paul, too, says of 
himself that in such troubles, his heart was filled with con- 
solation and joy, because he knew, by the light of &ith, 
how great was the value and advantages of tribulations and 

When BroUier Juniper was one day insulted by some 
rude remarks, he took up the folds of his dress, and extend- 
ing it with both hands, said : <' Come now, throw them in, 
and without any fear fill up this lapfiil of joys." 

Father Alvarez, being informed of a grave calumny that 
had been spread against him, gave signs of great gladness, 
and said to the one who had given him the information, 
and who was gazing at him in wonder : ^^ Now I see that 
Grod wishes me well, for He is leading me by Uie way of 
those dearest to Him.'' 

A director of the Venerable Maria Seraphina, to whom she 
revealed her whole life, testifies of her that in all the in- 
sults and ridicule which she had suffered, in the bad inter- 
pretation which others had put on her good works, and in all 
her other trials, she never gave way to impatience, nor 
showed any signs of vexation, but bore everything with 
the greatest peace and tranquillity both internal and ex- 
ternal, always praising and blessing God for the occasion 
He was giving her to exercise patience. Once when she had 
received at the grate many reproaches and menaces, which 
she bore with the most perfect tranquillity of heart and se*^ 


TMitjr of ccyantenanoe^ one of her nonaj who had heard and 
Ken all with great astonishment, asked her how she filt^ 
and she replied gailj : '^ Blessed be Ood I I am all flowers 
and joys I blessed be Grod P Her way of feeling, in such 
cases, became so well known to all in the convent, that 
when they saw her coming back from the grate with a 
bright fiice, praising and blessing Grod, they used to say, 
^^ Our Mother must have caught something good to-day,'' 
— ^meaning that she received some cross ; and when they 
inquired afterwards what had happened, they found this to 
be the case. The servants, too, had noticed this trait even 
before she left her Other's house, and so, when any illness 
or trouble came to her, they would say, ^^ Now your day has 
come, — ibis is your jubilee !'' 

S9. If you look at the rod of Moses lying on the ground, it it a 
frightful serpent ; if you look at it in the hand of Moses, it is a wand 
of power. It is thus with tribulations. Consider them in them- 
selves, and they are horrors ; consider them in the will of Qod, and 
they are Joys and delights.— iS^. F. da Bale: 

St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi used to say she did not 
think there could be found in the world suffering so bitter, 
adversity so severe, or trials so painftd, that she could not 
bear them cheerfully, by simply persuading herself that it 
was the will of Grod. And, in &ct, in the great sufferings 
of an illness that lasted five years, and at the time of her 
death, whenever any one reminded her that it was the will 
of Grod that she should suffer those agonies, it would take 
away all their bitterness, and quiet her at once* 

It is told in the Life of St. Lupus, that when he heard 
that the terrible Attila was coming to plunder his episcopal 
dty of Troy, he was first much affrighted. But afterwards, 
nerved to courage by the spirit of GK)d, he went out to 


meet him> in his pontifical vestments, in the hope of check- 
ing his audacity. When he came into Attila's presence, he 
asked him who he was. " The scourge of God," was 
Attila's reply. At these words, the Saint exclaimed : 
" And I, who am the spoiler of God's kingdom, well deserve 
to be scourged by Him !" Then he ordered the gates to 
be opened without delay. But when the enemy came in, 
he i)assed directly through the city, without doing any 
harm, as if he had seen no one. By this, God willed to 
show how much He was pl^ised with the submission and 
humility of the holy man, in bowing so readily beneath the 
scourge He had sent him, and in believing that he deserved 

30. When it is our lot to suffer pain, trials, or ill-treatment, let 
us turn our eyes upon what our Lord suffered, which will instantly 
render our sufferings sweet and supportable. However sharp our 
griefs may be, they will seem but flowers, in comparison with His 
thorns.— )SS(. F, da Sales, 

Count Elzearius received many insults even from his 
own subjects, and bore them all with great tranquillity. 
Being asked, by his wife, how he was able to do this, he an- 
swered : " When I receive insults from any one, I turn my 
thoughts to the great affronts which the Son of God suffered 
from His creatures, aiid say to myself, ^ Even if they were 
to pull your beard and strike you, what would this be in 
comparison with what your Lord suffered with so much 
patience V But I can tell you, besides, that I sometimes 
feel in such cases no slight emotions of anger. Then I 
quickly turn my mind to some similar injury suffered by 
our Lord, and keep it fixed upon that, until the emotion 
has subsided. 

A good woman being once confined to her bed and suf- 
fering from many ailments^ a friend of hers put a crucifix 


into her hand^ inyitiiig her to pray for relief from such 
great trials. But she said : ^^ Would you have me seek to 
descend from the eross^ when I hold inmy hands a crucifix ? 
Grod keep me from it ! I will rather suffer for Him^ who 
most willingly underwent for me paind incomparably 
greater than mine.'^ 

When St. Tei*esa was in great suffering, the Lord ap- 
peared to her, showing her His wounds, and saying : ^^ Be* 
hold^ My daughter, the sharpness of My torments, and con- 
sider whether thine can be compared to Mine.'' The Saint 
was so greatly moved by this, that she no longer felt the 
pain, and would often say afterwards : ^^ When I think in 
how many ways the Lord suffered, and that for no &ult of 
His own, I do not know of what I was thinking yhen I 
complained of my sufferings and tried to escape from them.'' 

A servant of Grod, being much afflicted by the grievous 
persecutions, calumny, and contempt that he experienced, 
turned to the Lord and said : " How long, O Lord ! must 
I be so tried, without any fault of mine, as Thou knowest ?" 
Then the Lord appeared to him, showing His wounds, and 
answering : " And for what fault had I to be treated thus ?" 
At this sight he was so much moved, and filled with such 
great joy, that he did not feel his afflictions at all, and said 
that he would not have exchanged his condition for that 
of any monarch on earth. 

For thirty-eight years St. Lidwina suffered constantly 
all kinds of infirmities, — gout in her feet and hands, tooth- 
ache, fevers, and whatever is most painful, — ^and yet she al- 
ways remained cheerful and happy, because she kept the 
sufferings of Christ continually in view. 

Dionysius the Carthusian tells of a certain novice, who 
became tepid in the divine service. While in the b^inning 
all went easily with him, he afterwards found great diffi- 


colty in performing humble of&oeB, aud in all ihe 
of mortification^ aud, among other things, he felt especial 
di<>gugt for a miserable habit, such as novices were expected 
towear. Now, one night Jesus C!hrist appeared to him in 
his sleep, with a long and heavy cross on His shoulden, 
which with His utmost efforts He was dragging up a stair- 
case. Moved with compassion, he ofifered to help Hinu 
But the Lord, turning upon him a severe lo&k, said: 
'^ How do you presume to carry so heavy a cross — ^you, who 
cannot bear for love of Me a habit that weighs so litdef^ 
The novice, awakened by this reproach, was at once hu- 
miliated and aroused, so that, henceforward, he wore the 
habit with great joy and content ; and whenever any trial 
came in his way, at the mere thought of the great suffer- 
ings which Christ bore^ everything seemed to him easy and 


BUmdam ths me$fi,far they thaU poaeu the Mr(A.-»MaU., v : 4. 

1. Meekness and mildDess of heart it a Tirtue rarer than chastity, 
and yet it is more excellent than that and all other virtues, for it is 
the end of charity, which, as St. Bernard says, is in its perfection 
when we are not only patient, but also kind. It is necessary, how* 
eiTer, to hare a great esteem for this virtue, and to use every effort to 
■oquiie it.— ^. F. de 8ale$. 

St Francis de Sales himself had the very highest r^ard 
for this virtue. He spoke of it so frequently and with so 
much love, as to show clearly it was his chosen one among all. 
So, though he excelled in all the virtues^ he was singular 
and remarkable in tbis. He always wore a serene counte- 
nancei and there was a special grace upon his lips^ so that 
he generally appeared to be smiling^ and his &ce breathed 
a sweetness which charmed every one. Though he usually 
showed great recollection, he sometimes thought it desira- 
ble to give proof of amiability, and then he consoled all 
who met him, and won the love and r^rd of whoever 
looked upon him. His words, gestures, and actions were 
never without great suavity and gentleness, so that it 
seemed that this virtue had taken in him the form of man, 
and that he was rather meekness itself than a man endowed 
with that quality. He, too, justly merited the praise be- 
stowed by the Holy Spirit upon Moses, ^^ that he was the 
meekest man of his time upon earth." And so St. Jane 
Fnmces de Chwtal wos able to sa^ that there was never 


known a heart so sweety so gentle^ so kind, so gracioas 
and affable, as his. St. Vincent de Paul expressed the same 
sentiment, saying that he was the kindest man he had 
ever known, and the first time he saw him, he notioed in 
the serenity of his countenance, and in his manner of con- 
versing, such a close resemblance to the meekness of Christ 
our Lord as instantly won his heart. 

The same may be said of St. Vincent de Paul. He was 
of a bilious-sanguine temperament, and, consequently, much 
inclined to anger, as he himself admitted to a friend, sajring, 
that when he was in the house of Cond6, he allowed him- 
self to be conquered more than once by his disposition to 
melancholy and to fits of passion. But having seen that 
God called him to live in community, and that in such a 
state he would have to deal with people of every variety 
of nature and disposition, he had recourse toOod, and ear- 
nestly prayed Him to change his harsh and unyielding 
temper into gentleness and benignity ; and then he began 
with a firm purpose to repress those ebullitions of nature. 
By prayer and effort combined he succeeded in making such 
a change, that he seemed no longer to feel any temptations 
to anger, and his nature was so altered that it became 
a source of benignity, serenity of countenance, and sweetness 
of manner, whicli won for him the affection of all who 
shared his acquaintance. As a rule, he received all those 
who went to his house, with pleasant words, full of respect 
and esteem, by which he showed his regaixl for them and 
his pleasure in seeing them. This he did with all, with the 
poor as well as those of high rank, adapting himself alv^ys 
to the position of each. 

2. Meekness is a virtue which implies loftiness of soul For this 
reason worldlings usually are wanting in meekness, for this loftiness 
is found in them but rarely and imperfectly. If they are not the first 


to use hanh and discourteous expressions, yet when they are ad- 
dressed to them by others, they resent and return them promptly, 
showing by their revenge that they have a rude and ignoble heart. 
And so the servants of Qod, remaining always quiet and peaceable, 
though provoked by words or acts, manifest a perfect loftiness of suul 
superior to all rudeness. — 8t. Thomas Aquincu, 

This holy Doctor confirmed this noble sentiment by his 
actions, for in whatever trying position he was placed, he 
never gave the least sign of resentment, but at all times and 
on all occasions showed a calm and spiritual insensibility to 

The Emperor Constantine illustrated the same thing by 
his actions, especially on one occasion, when he had re- 
ceived a marked afiront from his subjects, but was so sus- 
tained by his habitual meekness as not to be at all perturbed 
by it. When some of the court urged him to take a 
signal vengeance, telling him that it was not right for him 
to bear such a stain on his face, he replied, with a smile, pass- 
ing his hand gently over his &ce, ^^ I do not find any stuin 



The same is recorded of the glorious St. Vincent Ferrer, 
who was never seen angry, whatever insult or injury he re- 

8. There is nothing which edifies others so much as charity and 
kindness, by which, as by the oil in the lamp, the flame of good ex- 
ample is kept alive. — 8t, F. de Sales, 

We read of St. Francis Xavier that his brother Jesuits 
often visited him, only to enjoy his admirable mildness. 

When St. Ignatius was passing, one day, with a compan- 
ion, near some reapers, they began to jeer and mock at him. 
The Saint, not to deprive them of this amusement, stood 
still, with a tranquil countenance, until they had finished ; 
then he blessed them, and went away. But they, amazed 
at such conduct, proclaimed him to be a saint. 

166 ▲ TEA.B WITH THE BAIim. 

4 We ought to deal kindlj with all, and to manifest thoae qoalS' 
ties which spring naturally from a heart tender and full of Christiaa 
chari^ ; such as affability, love, and humility. These Tirtues serre 
wonderfully to gain the hearts of men, und to encourage them to 
embrace things that are more repugnant to nature.—^. F. de Atil. 

St. Francis de Sales dealt with every one with so much 
meekness that without any rough measures he arranged 
every thing aocoiding to his own will, and always did what 
he wished. He did this in a manner so geutle, and at the 
same time so full of authority, that no one could resist his 
persuasions. He treated all with respect, welcomed all 
amiably, and granted requests with great suavity and cor- 
diality. This gave him such influence and power over 
hearts, that all yielded to him. And as he sought to adapt 
himself to all, and to be everything to everybody, all will- 
ingly fulfilled his desires, which had no other object than 
to see them occupied in the divine service, and walking in 
the way of salvation. 

St. Francis Xavier treated every one with great mildness 
and kindness, which drew to him all, both small and great, 
won the hearts of all, and induced all to do what he 

The Abbot Servius being one day treated with great 
rudeness by a countryman, not only bore it with extreme 
patience, but replied with much sweetness. At this, the 
man, struck with admiration and compunction, at once 
threw himself at his feet to ask his pardon, and afterwards 
became one of his monks. 

5. At times, a single word is sufficient to cool a person who is 
burning with anger ; and, on the other hand, a single word may 
be capable of desolating a soul» and infusing into it a bittemesa 
which may be most hurtful.— 5C. V, de Paul 

One day, when St Macarius was travelling with a dif 


dple in Nitria^ the disciple went a little in advance of him^ 
and then met an idol-priest who was hurrying along with a 
heavy stick ou his shoulders. ** Where are you goings 
demon ?" he called out. Upon this^ the priest laid down his 
wood^ ran upon him^ and gave him so many blows that he 
left him for dead. Then he picked the wood up again^ and 
went on his way in haste. Soon after, Macarius met him 
and saluted him with the words, ** God save you, toiler P' 
" You have done well/' he replied, " to salute me civilly.*' 
" I saw you were fiitigued,'' continued the Saint, " and 
that you were running without regard to your health, and I 
saluted you, that, by stopping, you might get a little rest'' 
** By this I know that you are a true servant of GJod," re- 
plied the idolater, and throwing himself at the Saint's feet, 
he sfud that he would never leave him, until he had in- 
vested him with the habit of a monk. 

Three monks, being on a journey, lost their road, and so 
were obliged to pass through a field of grain, which they 
consequently injured. A peasant, seeing this, b^an to re- 
proach them, and call them fiJae monks. Then tlie oldest 
told his companions not to reply, and when he came 
near the man, he said to him, ^^ My son, you have said well." 
And, as he continued to insult them, he added : " You tell 
the truth, my son ; for if we were true monks, we should 
not have done you this harm. Now, pardon us for the 
love of God, for we know that we have done wrong." At 
these words, the rustic, amazed at such great meekness, 
threw himself at their feet, asked for pardon, and then for 
the habit, and went away with them. 

St. Francis de Sales always spoke with so much sweet- 
ness and mildness, that with two or three words he often re^ 
stored the most troubled hearts to tranquillity. 


6. As it is not posdble, in this pilgrimage of ours, not to meet fluid 
become entangled with each other, if we would presenre interior 
peace, we must possess a great fund of meekness, to oppose to the un- 
expected assaults of nxkgen.—St, F, de 8aU$, 

Philip TLy King of Spain^ had spent many hours of the 
night in writing a long letter to the Pope, and when it was 
finished, he gave it to his secretary to be folded and sealed. 
But he being lialf-asleep, poured ink over it instead of sand, 
and nearly died of fright when he saw what he had done. 
But the king, without any excitement, only said, ^' Here is 
another sheet of paper,'' and went back calmly to his writ- 
ing. Another day, when he was going to hunt, he took a 
seat to have his boots put on. When one was on, the 
other was not to be found, and he waited for it a long time, 
without giviug any sign of impatience, or saying a single 
word. At the time of his coronation, a soldier, in trying to 
keep back the crowd with a pole, broke thereby three crys- 
tal lamps that were over the throne, so that the oil fell on 
the rich dresses of the king and queen. ^^ Well," said the 
king, '^ tliis is a sign that in my reign there will be the unc- 
tion of peace and abundance." 

St Remigius, foreseeing a great &mine, had collected a 
large quantity of grain, and being informed, one day, that 
some ill-disposed person had set it on fire, he quickly 
mounted his horse, and hurried to the spot. He found 
the fire so far advanced that there was no hope of extin- 
guishing it ; but he was chilled by his ride, as the weatlier 
was very cold, so he dismounted, and with perfect tran- 
quillity both of mind and countenance, he b^an to warm 
himself, remarking, " Fire is always good !" 

As the venerable Cardinal d' Arezzo was about to give or- 
dination one morning, one of the candidates was not pres- 
ent. He sent for him, and remained waiting in the mean 


time with perfect composure. At his arrival^ without any 
resentment^ he quietly proceeded with the ceremony. 

7. There are some characters which appear very gentle as long as 
eTeiything goes well wiih them ; but at the touch of any adversity 
or contradiction, they are immediately enkindled, and begin to 
throw forth smoke like a volcano. Such as these may be called 
burning coals hidden under ashes. This is not the meekness which 
our Lord aimed to teach, that He might make us like Himself. We 
ought like lilies among thorns, which, though they come from 
amid such sharp points, do not cease to be smooth and pliable. — St. 

This test shows how true was the meekness of St. Frau- 
ds de Sales, for it is recorded of him that the more he was 
ill-treated, the more tranquil he appeared. It may be said 
that he found peace in war, roses among thorns, and sweet- 
ness amidst the greatest bitterness. He once even said him- 
self : '^ Of late, the open contradiction and secret opposition 
which I meet, bring me a peace so sweet and soothing that it 
has no equal, and presages the approaching rest of the soul in 
its Grod, which most truly is the single ambition and the 
single desire of my heart and soul.'^ In nothing does this 
admirable peace and tranquillity shine forth more than in 
the persecutions he suffered on account of the Order of the 
Visitation — ^the work of his hands and of his mind, which 
had cost him prayers, journeys, and labors, without number, 
and was certainly dear to him as the apple of his eye. Such 
great opposition was raised against this most worthy Insti- 
tute, that several times it was on the point of extinction ; yet 
he never lost his imperturbable peace for that. On the 
other hand, he wrote that he praised Grod that his little 
Congregation had been calumniated, as that was one of the 
most evident marks of the approbation of Heaven. One day, 
when the Saint was preaching, two lawyers sent up to him 
a note full of insulting remarks, in the hope of breaking 


up the sermon. He took the paper^ thmking it oantaiiied 
some notice to be given to the people, had the patienoe to 
read it through to himself, and then, undisturbed, went on 
with his sermon. When it was over and he had rested a 
little, he inquired of the cleric from whom he had received 
the note, and went to visit the two lawyers, one after the 
other. Without speaking of the letter, he b^ged them to 
say in what he had given them offence. When he heard 
the occasion, he assured them that he had never had the in- 
tention of doing so, and asked their pardon on his knees. 
This caused them much confusion, and they asked his par- 
don in turn. Thenceforth, they lived on the best terms 
with him, venerating, as thejr did, a virtue 80 heroic and 

This virtue also shone forth in St Jane Frances de 
Chantal. When she was, on various occasions, ill-treated by 
many, she never showed the least sign of resentment or dis- 
pleasure, but in return gave presents to one, bestowed 
&vors obtained from Gknl or from persons of rank, upon 
another. Nor was her love for any of them diminished. 

Acertain youth, who was very angry because a young lady 
whom he wished to marry, had embraced the religious state, 
went to see her, and said many insulting things to her. She 
listened to them all with great serenity of countenance and 
so much joy of heart that on leaving the parlor she said to 
her companion, who had been present at the interview, 
^' I never heard a eulogium more agreeable to me, than the 
one this good youth has just made/' Then, moved with 
compassion at his sinM state, she added, ^^ Let us pray the 
Lord to give him light.'' Her prayers were inde^ heard, 
for he repented of his error, came again to ask her pardon, 
then himself entered religion, and finally became a great 
preacher, and a good servant of God, 


8. Whan you naye to make arrangements, settle quarrels, or win 
others to your views, take care to be as mild as posidble. Tou will 
aooomplish more, and conquer more readily, by yielding and hum- 
bUng yourself, than by harshness and disputation. Who does not 
know that more flies are caught with an ounce of honey than with a 
hundred barrels of vinegar 1-^St. F, de Soldi, 

The venerable Cardinal d'Arezzo excelled in this. He 
not only knew how to keep his own household in peace, 
and banish all differences from among them, when he was 
bishop and cardinal ; but when he was a simple religious^ 
he was considered to be a man very well adapted to settle 
lawsuits, to quiet discord, and to calm the most inflamed 
spirits. He succeeded in this not only by his prudence 
. ^d dexterity in management, but also by his great affabil- 
ity and mildness, which won the affection of all, and so 
gave him great power to soften the most obstinate hearts. 

St. John Berchmans, even when a child, had great suc- 
cess in settling the little disputes that arise among children, 
and the reason was, that prayers and gentleness were the 
means he employed. 

^ 0. If you wish to labor with fruit in the conversion of souls, you 
must pour the balsam of sweetness upon the wine of your zeal, that 
it may not be too fiery, but mild, soothing, patient, and full of com- 

^ passion. For the human soul is so constituted that by rigor it be- 
comes harder, but mildness completely softens it. Besides, we ought 
to remember that Jesus Christ came to bless good intentions, and if 
we leave them to His control, little by little He will make them f ruii- 

\ tui.St. F. de Salet. 


This holy Bishop proceeded in this way himself with the 
most perverse sinners, striving to bring them to repentance 
in the gentlest ways possible, guiding himself by the great 
maxim, that the spirit of meekness is the spirit of God, as 
the spirit of mortification is that of the Crucified. A man 
who haA been guilty of enormous crimes, once came to hm 


confessionaly and went on aocusing himself of them with 
indifference, and without any spirit of penitence. After 
bearing this for some time, the Samt b^an to weep, and 
when his penitent asked if anything had happened to him, 
he merely answered, " Go on/' As he went on with the 
same ease as before, telling even greater sins, he wept again 
and again. On being urged to tell the cause, he at last 
said, in a voice full of compassion, " I weep because you do 
not weep.'' These words struck the heart of the sinner 
with compunction, and he became a true penitent His 
gentleness manifested itself especially in his manner of giv- 
ing advice, encouraging souls, at the same time, to advance 
to perfection. When he found them lost in sin and in dan- 
gerous occasions of it, he would indeed cry out : *^ Cut, break, 
rend, for there are certain bonds which we must not treat 
with ceremony, or stop to disentangle, but we must dissever 
and sunder them at once." But on other occasions, where 
there was no danger, he would lead his penitents step by 
step to retrench superfluities and banish worldliness firom 
their lives. " Do you not see," he wrote to a lady, " that 
vines are not pruned with the rough strokes of an axe, but 
with a fine-edged hook, one shoot after another ? I have 
seen some statues which the sculptor worked on for ten 
years before they were perfect, cutting, with chisels, a little 
here and a little there, until he had removed all that was 
contrary to accuracy of proportion. No, certainly it is not 
possible to arrive in a day at the point you aspire to readi. 
It is necessary to gain one step to-day, another to-morrow, 
and to strive to become masters of ourselves by d^reee ; 
for this is no small conquest." 

St. Vincent de Paul, also, was accustomed, even inpreadi- 
ing', to speak with the greatest suavity and gentlenesBi 
00 that be infused into the minds of his bearers, especial]/ 


MAY. — UWSKKESa. 163 

the poor, such oonfidenoe in himself, and such reudiness to 
follow his directions, that after a sermon, they would often 
ran after him, and entreat him with tears, in the midst of 
the crowd, to hear their confessions, in which they revealed 
to him, with great frankness, the most bidden wounds of 
thdr souls, that they might receive from him a remedy. He 
once committed a great sinner to the care of one of his 
priests, that he might do what he could to bring him to 
repentance. The priest soon found that whatever he said 
had no effect upon that obstinate heart, and he therefore 
entreated the Saint to say something himself. He did so, 
and with such efficacy that he converted him ; and in order 
that the conversion might be lasting, he induced him to 
make the Spiritual Exercises. The sinner afterwards ac- 
knowledged that it was the singular sweetness and charity of 
the Saint, which had gained his heart, and that he had never 
heard any person speak of God as he did. For this reason 
the Saint would not permit his missionaries to treat peni- 
tents with austerity and harshness ; he told them that it was 
necessary to encourage repentant sinners, and that the in- 
fernal spirit ordinarily makes u^e of rigor and bitterness, 
' on the part of priests, to lead souls more astray than ever. 
He used the same method in the conversion of heretics, 

• and succeeded by it in converting many, who afterwards con- 
- fessed that they had been gained to God by his great patience 
' and cordiality. The Saint explained this when he said : 
' " You see, when one b^ins to argue with another, the latter 

• easily persuades himself that he wishes to conquer him, and 
, therefore is more prepared to resist than to embrace the 
f truth ; so that the contest, instead of disposing his mind to 
I conversion, rather closes his heart, which, on the contrary, 
:' remains open to sweetness and affability. We have,'^ he 
I added| ** a fine example of this in Monsignor de Sales, whO| 


though very well versed in controversy, converted heretics 
rather by mildness than by learnings so^ that Cardinal di 
Piron used to say that intellect was enough to convince here- 
tics, but it needed Monsignor de Sales to convert them.'^ 

When St. Francis Xavier was preaching in Macao to a 
great multitude of people, some of the mob threw stones at 
him. He went on without the least sign of resentment, 
and he made more conversions in this way than by his 

St. Lndwina, by her great sweetness, converted a sinner 
whom no preacher or confessor had ever been able to bring 
to repentance. 

St. Philip Neri labored much in the conversion of souk. 
He drew them to the Lord with so much dexterity, 
the penitents themselves wondered, for he seemed to 
charm them, in such a way that whoever came to him ono^ 
appeared unable to refrain from coming again. He was 
very careful to accommodate himself to the nature of each 
one. If great sinners and men of evil life came to him, he 
commanded them in the b^inning to abstain from mortal 
sin, and then led them, by d^rees, with admirable skill, 
to the point he aimed at. There once came to his feet a 
penitent so addicted to a certain sin, that he fell into it al- 
most every day. The only penance he gave him was to come 
to confession immediately afret* he committed the sin, without 
waiting to fall a second time. The penitent obeyed, aud the 
Saint always absolved him, without giving him any other 
penance. By this method he succeeded in a few months in 
freeing him, not only from this sin, but from all others^ 
and in leading him to a high d^ree of perfection. He ad* 
vised a very dissolute young man to say the " Hail, holy 
Queen,'' seven times a day, and then to kiss the ground 
with the words " To-morrow I may be dead.'' By do* 


ing this the youth soon reformed his life^ and fourteen years 
after died a holy death. In the same manner^ the Saint 
brought back to the way of Grod a great number of sin- 
ners^ many of whom said on their death-beds; ** Blessed be 
the day and the hour when I first knew Father Philip.'' 
And they all remained so attached to him that there was 
nothing they would not willingly have done for him. 

10, Whoever basdirection of souls, should deal with them as God 
and the angels do, — with admonitions, suggestions, entreaties, and 
" with all patience and dottrine.*' He must knock at the door of 
the heart like the Spouse, and try gently to open it : if be succeeds* 
be must introduce salvation with gladness ; but if a refusal comes, 
he ahould bear it patiently: It is thus that our Lord acts. Though 
He is Master of aU hearts. He bears with our long resistance to His 
Ugbts, and our many rebellions against His inspirations ; and even if 
He be forced to withdraw from those who will not walk in His way, 
He does not cease to renew His inspirations, and invitations. Our 
guardian angels, too, exactly imitate His conduct in this ; for they 
guide, rule, and help as far as they can, those whom God has com- 
mitted to their charge, and when ihey see them remaining obstinate, 
they do not therefore abandon them, nor experience either grief or 
texatioD, nor lose their blessedness in any degree. Now, what better 
models than these can we desire for our own conduct ?— /St. F. de 

These surely were the models that this Saint proposed to 
himself. With weak souls in particular^ such as b^inners, 
or those who have made but little progress in the spiritual 
li&y he said we ought to copy Jacob^ who suited his steps 
to those of his little sons, and even to the tender lambs. 

St. Vincent de Paul, also, behaved with great suavity and 
patience to all whom he directed, and especially to scrupu- 
lous persons, bearing with their weaknesses, and listening to 
them with unalterable sweetness. He treated in the same 
way thoee that were &stidious and hard to please, saying 
thftt they ought to be guided with the greatest kindnfioa^aa 

166 ▲ TEAB WITH THS fiAHm. 

their infirmities of spirit were worthy of even more oom- 
paasion than bodily ones. 

8t Jane Frances de Chantal pursued the same conrBe. 
Writing to a Superioress of her Order, she says : " The 
older I grow, the more I feel the necessity of meekness to 
win and retain hearts, to the end that they may be fiutfafhl 
to the duty they owe to GikL Whatever I have tried to 
do for the benefit of those who have had recourse to me to 
guide their souls, has been done by means of a mild and 
humble charity, and without any authority but that of a 
heart-felt entreaty J* 

11. As withoat faith it is impoMlble to please God, so without 
mildneit it is impotiible to pleaae men and to goTem them welL— 
St. B^maird. 

The same Saint proved this by his example. When he 
was made Abbot, he proceeded at first with much austerity 
and severity ; and though his monks had a high opinion of 
him, they could not adapt themselves to each other. There- 
fore, he was warned by Grod to show more suavity and 
sweetness ; and when he did so, he gained for himself the 
affection of all, and a most exact obedience. 

Cassiodoms relates of Theobald, that after being made 
king he used to say : ^^ In changing our office we have 
changed our methods; and if we previously acted with 
rigor, we now employ clemency altogether.^' 

Nicetus, in his Annals, tells of a certain emperor who at 
his death called together the chief men of the empire, and 
said to them : ^' My two sons, as you see, are both good ; but 
I consider the younger better fitted to govern than the elder, 
for, besides his other virtues, he is inclined to clemency and 
docility, and when he has made any mistake, he follows the 
counsels of others, and obeys the voice of reason. Tlift 


other is easily made angry^ and in his fits of passion he 
cannot oontn)! himself. This trait is most opposed to good 
counsel^ and brings ruin on the wise." 

12. I have turned forward and backward and on every side, and 
what conclusion have 1 reached ? I have considered all methods of 
governing, and even tried tbem, and I have floally seen that the best 
is that which is amiable, sincere, humble, and patient — 8t, J, F, 
de OhatUal. 

It was indeed thus that this Saint Uved among her sub- 
jectB, in a gentle and humble manner, and thus she gained 
from them whatever she desired. When she asked for any- 
thing unimportant, she proceeded with so much submission 
that they were overcome by her humility ; and when she 
required what was necessary, she did it with so much sweet- 
ness, that DO one who had a heart, could fail to obey her 
orders promptly. 

St. Vincent de Paul wrote thus to a Superior who had 
complained to him of one of his subjects : ^^ The priest 
of whom you write to me, is a worthy and virtuous 
man, and before he came to us, he was much esteemed in 
the world. If he is now a little restless, engages in tem- 
poral affairs, thinks too much of his relatives, and even 
looks down upon his companions, you must bear with him 
mildly. If he had not these &ults, he would have others ; 
and if you had nothing to bear with, your charity would 
not have much opportunity for exercise, nor would your 
conduct and government bear much resemblance to those 
of Christ our Lord, who chose to have rude disciples, sub- 
ject to various defects, that He might teach us by practis- 
ing amiability and patience with them, how those should be- 
have who hold the oflSce of Superior. I entreat you to form 
yourself upon this holy model, by which you will learn not 
only to bear with your bretliren^ but also to help them in 




freeing themselves from their imperfections/' Writing ta 
another on one of the Missions^ who was veiy unwilliiy 
to part with one of his assistants, he said : ^^ I do not 
doubt that the separation from this dear companion and 
fidthful friend must necessarily be painful to you ; but re- 
member that our Lord separated Himself from His own 
Mother^ and that His disciples, whom the Holy Ohost had 
so perfectly united, separated themselves from one another 
for their Master's service/' 

Plutarch relates of Pericles that whenever he put on his 
officer's dress, he used to say to himself, as a reminder to 
be affiible and respectful to all, *^ Attention, Pericles I you 
are going to command your brothers, Greeks, citizens (d 
Athens !" 

18. Whoever has the charge of others, ought not hesitate to !•• 
sist and correct the vices of those wlio depeDd on him, or even to 
oppose their sentiments when need requires it,— always, however, 
with mildness and peace, especially when he has to enunciate any 
truths difficult to receive. Such truths must first be heated by s I 
burning fire of charity, which will take away all their sharpness ; 
otherwise, they will be sour fruit, better calculated to cause diseaw 
than to give nourishment. Nothing is more bitter than walout- 
bark when it is green ; but when made into a preserve, it Is very 
sweet and exceedingly wholesome. So reproof, which is very bit- 
ter in its nature, heated at the fire of charity, and sweetened by amia- 
bility, becomes itself pleasing and delicious. And when truth ut- 
tered by the tongue is destitute of sweetness, it is a sign that the 
heart is wanting in true charity.— 5^. F. de Salei, 

When Father Lambert of the Congr^ation of the Mis- 
sion was obliged to administer correction to his inferiors, 
he accompanied it with great sweetness, and never exag- 
gerated their &ults. He even overlooked them as £ur as 
he could, sometimes when committed in his presence. The 
venerable Cardinal Bellarmine used to act in the same way. 

St. Francis Borgia never let any fitulta of his subjects 


pass without correction. When they were slight &ult8^ he 
never spoke harshly, but would say, " Ah ! may God 
pardon you ! May He make you a saint ! Oh, brother, how 
could you say or do this ?^' If the fault was grave, he 
summoned the culprit, corrected him kindly, and when he 
saw any amendment, dismissed the whole matter. 

St. Vincent de Paul, when he was obliged to give cor- 
rection, did it with so much moderation and in a manner at 
once so sweet and so effective, that even the hardest hearts 
were softened, and could not resist the power of his gentle- 
ness. He said, on one occasion, that in the whole coui*se of 
his life he had given correction with harsh words only three 
times, in which he thought it necessary to do so ; but every 
time he had been afterwards sorry, for the result proved to 
be bad ; and on the contrary, by mildness he had always 
obtained what he desired. The precautions which he used 
to render correction fruitful, and to sweeten its bitterness, 
were the following: — In the first place, unless it was 
absolutely necessary, he never gave correction at the mo- 
ment the &ult was committed, but took some time to con- 
sider before (rod the best way of treating it, especially if the 
&ult was grave and the person little disposed to receive 
reproof; and when a suitable time came, he would ask him, 
with much confidence and cordiality, if he would like a 
little advice, adding that he knew he was himself more im- 
perfect and culpable than any other. In the second place, 
he would show him marks of affection, and praise him if 
he could find anything to praise in him. He thus opened 
the way to reveal to him his &ult with tact, and to make 
him see its gravity and bad effects. He excused it too, and 
made the least he could of it, and then suggested a remedy, 
and as an encouragement to make use of it, added humbly 
that he^ too^ needed it. Thirdly, he ended the correction with 

170 A Y£AB WtTfi TfiB SAtKm 

enoouragement, saying that God had permitted that fiuling 
as a humiliation^ and to give opportunity to attend with 
greater fervor to the acquisition of virtue. Often he would 
apparently pass over fimlts^ making it appear that he had 
scarcely noticed them. It was his opinion that those who 
had fidlen into some &uItS; should be admonished, the first 
time, at some fitting opportunity, with great kindness and 
pntleness; thesecSd^e, wilkuttlel^^^ grav- 

ity, accompanied, however, with graciousness, and the sug- 
gestion of easy and charitable remedies ; but the third time, 
with zeal and firmness, and with a warning of the final j 
remedy which would have to be applied. 

St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi was never known to assail 
or opprei^s any one. On the contrary, when she was mis- 
tress of novices, if any one of those whom she reproved, 
answered her with pride and stubbornness, she said nothing, 
but merely r^arded her with an amiable look, and waited 
until some other time to correct her. 

When St. Jane Frances de Chantal had to give any 
correction or penance, she spoke always with great care, 
that there might not escape from her lips any word of re- 
proof or disapproval, which would show the slightest sign 
of anger, but that all might be accompanied by a cordial 
compassion and tenderness, which would serve at once to 
blame the fault and to comfort the offender. Her sole 
effort was to make the delinquent perceive her error, and 
recollect herself, and she did this in ways so gentle and 
terms so insinuating, that it was almost impossible not to 
be moved to repentance, and not to receive tlie admonitiim 
with profit. If an unruly spirit showed itself in any one, 
what entreaties, what caresses, what loving stratagems, heat 
charitable prudence suggested, to lead her back into the 
right path I 

MAT. — ^KEEKKEBa. 171 

The Tonefable CSaidiDal d'Aieszo^ a man most sealoos 
tar die glory of God and the salvation of souls, was peca- 
Harlj apxioos that the ecclesiastical functions should be 
perfbnned with all possible propridy and perfection. Yet 
when he saw aiiy of his subjects fiul in this, thou^ his 
heart was deq^ly moved, all were surprised at the mildness 
of his eonection. But when he heard that any of his 
flock, and especially any ecclesiastic, was living in some 
habitual on, or had fidlen into a grave transgression, it 
caused him sudi pain and affliction that he often wept, and 
after supplicating God, with fervent and loving prayer, to 
have compassion on human miseries and finilty, he would 
torn all his thoughts and efforts towards providing some 
remedy. First of all, in sudi cases, he would promulgate 
anew the decrees and orders of synods, with their penalties 
annexed, to the end that the guilty parties might be re- 
minded of the danger in which they stood, and might do 
at least horn fear, what they would not do from virtue. 
Afterwards, if necessary, he would give an admonition in 
private, but with admirable tact, and with especial 
tokens of confidence and familiarity. At first sight this 
course appears strange and contrary to all rules of good 
government, but one can scarcely believe how much good 
it did in the hands of this holy pastor. He sometimes sent 
for priests and even for seculars, who were known to be 
leading evil lives, and invited them to dine with him. 
After dinner, he took them to his own room, and b^an to 
admonish them, dilating upon the heinousness of their sin 
and its enormity before Grod, with such zeal and affection, 
that he wept copiously himself, and moved them also to tears 
and conversion. In this way he gained the greatest results, 
and admirable changes of life were witnessed, to the ex- 
tnordinary edification of the people. 


14. The only consideration of Superiors ought to be the lo¥6 of 
Ood, and the sanctiflcation of the souls committed to their care. 
This cannot be better attained than by humility, combined with a 
peaceable disposition and good example.— iS^. V, de PatiL 

To this end St Vincent recommended Superiors to take 
pains that the yoke of obedience should be easy to their 
subjects, and therefore to cultivate a civil and amiable 
manner, rather than a harsh and imperious one. To one 
whom he was sending to a certain house as Superior, he 
gave this direction : ^^ Do not be domineering iu order to 
appear Uke a Superior and master. I am not of die opinion 
of a person who said to me, a few days ago, that to govern 
well and maintain authority, it was necessary to be known 
as a Superior. Jesus Christ did not speak thus ; He 
taught us the contrary, both by example and in words, 
when He said that He came into the world not to be served, 
but to serve ; and that whoever wishes to be Superior, ought 
to make himself the servant of all. Conform yourself, 
then, to this holy maxim, behaving towards those for whom 
you are sent to care, qu(m unu8 ex illiay — as one of them- 
selves, — and telling them, as soon as youairive, that you have 
come not to rule, but to serve. If you practise upon this 
suggestion both at home and abroad, all will be well.'' 

To another whom he was sending as Superior to another 
house, he spoke thus : ^' What you ought to do is to trust 
in Grod, that you may be a burden to no one, and to treat 
all with affability and courtesy, always using peaceable and 
gentle words, never sharp and imperious ones. For, as 
there is nothing better fitted to gain hearts than this humble 
and courteous demeanor, so, also, there is nothing better 
adapted to attain our object, which is, that (rod may be 
served and souls sanctified." Writing to the head of a 
Mission, who had with him a somewhat &uliy companion, 

MAY. — ^MEEKNESS. 173 

be flftid : '' If you wish to be aooompanied by die blessing 
of Grody make every effort to bear with your assistant meekly. 
Banishing every thought of superiority fix)m your heart, 
aooommodate yourself to him in a spirit of charity. This 
is the means by which Jesus Christ won and perfected His 
disciples, and it is in the same way only that this good 
priest will be won. Granting this to be true, give a little 
time to gratifying his humor, never contradict him at the 
moment when he seems to you to give occasion for it, but, 
when it is absolutely necessary, admonish him later, and with 
humility and good feeling.^' 

Such was his own patience, for though he was most rig- 
oroos to himself and very exact even in the smallest things, 
to others he was full of charity and mildness, taking care 
to please all in everything that he reasonably coidd. In giv- 
ing carders, his manner was always so unpretending, and his 
words so courteous, that he seemed rather to entreat than to 
conunand. When be intended to assign to any one some 
hard task or difficult business, he prepared him for it by 
d^rees, and with much dexterity smoothed away the dif- 
ficulties which might have discouraged him. And in every 
thing he showed so much affability and cordiality that he 
gained all hearts, and was exactly obeyed even in the most 
difficult things. Many, too, have confessed that, after God, 
they owed their perseverance to his charity, gentleness, and 
mildness towards them. 

SL Francis Borgia was very strict with himself, but 
most compassionate and kind to his subjects ; so that al- 
though he woidd not excuse himself for the slightest de- 
fect, he woidd pardon very many in them. In giving an 
order, he would never speak sharply, but would say, with 
great sweetness : " I entreat you to do this for the love of 
God. Would you have any difficulty in going to such s 


place? Woulditbeoonvenientforyoatodosuchathing? 
I had thought of giving you such a charge, but I would like 
to know whether it would be agreeable to you.'' 

St. John, a Canon B^ular, was once assailed with a volley 
of abuse by one of the Religious over whom he was ap- 
pointed Prior. When he did not reply, another who was 
present, said : '^ You might stop all this insolence by a w(nd, 
by ordering him to go to his oelL ^^ No I" replied the Saint, 
^' when fire is consuming a house, would it be well to throw 
on more wood ? This good brother is now burning with 
anger ; if I should reprove him, his unger would be in* 
creased ; but when this great fire has died out, then it will 
be time to apply a remedy.'' 

St Francis de Sales having been obliged to imprison 
one of his ecclesiastics, who was leading a scandalous life, 
the offender, after a few days, showed great signs of repent- 
ance, and b^ged for an interview widi the Saint, who had 
pardoned him on previous occasions. Those who had 
charge of him did not wish to permit this, for they knew 
what great compassion the man of (rod would feel for him 
if he saw him ; but they finally yielded to his entreaties. 
When he came into the Saint's presence, he b^ged for mercy, 
with fervent promises of amendment. Then the holy 
Bishop said, with much emotion and many tears : " I con- 
jure you, by the love and mercy of God, in which we all hope, 
to have pity on me, on the diocese, on the Church, and on 
the whole Order so much dishonored by the scandalous life 
you have hitherto led, which gives matter to our adversaries 
to blaspheme our holy Faith. I pray you to have pity on 
yourself, on your own soul, which you are sending to per- 
dition for eternity : I exhort you in the name of Jesus Christ, 
on which you trample ; by the goodness of the Savior, whom 
you crucify anew ; and by that spirit of grace, whom yoa 

MAT. — ^MEEKNESS. 176 

outrage P This mild earnestness was so efficacious that he 
not only did not fiUl again into his former sins, but became a 
model of virtae. St. Francis de Sales was once asked bj 
St Jane Frances de Chautal what she had better do in re- 
gard to a novice who had b^ged importunately to be ad- 
mitted to profession, — which in that Order is regarded as a 
fimlty as profession is granted at a proper time, without any 
request, to those who have been exact in observance. He 
answered gently that charity should abound on one side, 
when humility is wanting on the other. 

Stb Jerome relates of St. Paula that when she was gov- 
erning a convent built by herself, she &iled in none of her 
obligations, and never asked anything of her daughters 
which she had not first practised herself; and she showed 
her authority only by her care in providing for all their 
wanti«, by serving them in all their needs, and by leading 
them to the practice of virtue. She was never absent from 
dhoir, but always among the fir^t to arrive ; in the work of 
the house, she was the most attentive and the most laborious. 
In r^ard to others' fiiults, if any failed in exercises of piety ; 
if any one was slothful in corporal exercises ; if any one was 
careless about her employment, — she brought all back to 
their duty, managing tliem in different ways, according to 
their dis|)osition, — ^if passionate, with caresses ; if patient, 
with correction. If discord arose between too, she reunited 
them with gentle words. If she noticed any one who was 
fiistidious in dress or behavior ; who was loquacious, pas- 
sionate, or quarrelsome, she admonished her with tact more 
than once ; but if she did not amend, she gave her the lowest 
rank among her Sisters, set her to kneel at the door of the 
refectory, or to eat by herself, in the hope that shame might 
succeed where reproof had &iled. With the sick she was 
all cordiality, charity, and liberality, thinking no labor or 

176 A TEAJt WITH THE fiAIimB. 

expense too great for them. But if she wasall kindnesB to 
others^ to herself^ whensick, she was all austerity and hard- 
nesBi permitting no exceptions in her own &yor, even in 
the matter of food. Once when she was recovering from a 
burning fever in the month of Julj^ she could not be in- 
duced to partake of a little honey^ which the physidaos had 

recommended to strengthen her weak digestion. 


16. In reUgiooB Orders, anioii and peace oaght to be pfetered 
aboTe eTery other good. These depend upon bearing witb one an- 
other, yielding to one another, and treating one another with that 
mildness, which is a source of peace, and a bond of perfectloB that 
unites hearts.— 5t. F. ds Paul, 

When this Saint was obliged to reprehend any one for a 
fiiult, he took every precaution that the person who had in- 
formed him of it, should not be known. And if he &ared 
to give occasion for suq>icion or aversion, he would omit 
the correction altogether, rather than disturb the general 

When St John Berchmans had the office of monitor in 
the novitiate, he never reported anything to the Superior, 
without first consulting God before the Blessed Sacrament, 
that he might not disturb the peace of others, and also that 
he might not be deceived by his own judgment or feeling. 

16. It is a matter of great importance to make our conTersation 
agreeable. To do so it is necessary to appear humble, patient, respect- 
ful, cordial, yielding in all lawful things and to all. AboTe aU, we 
must avoid contradicting the opinion of any one, unless there should 
be an evident necessity for it. In that case, it should be done with 
all possible mildness, and with the greatest tact, without outraging 
the feelings of the other party. In this way, contests wili be aToided, 
which produce only bitterness, and which ordinarily spring rather 
from attachment to our own opinion, than from love for truth. Be- 
lieve me, that as there are no diq>o6itioas more inimical to hnmaa 
society than those which are given to contradiction; so there Is noi a 

MAY. — ^MEEKNESS. 177 

poBon more generally loTed than he who contradicts no one.St, F. 

Father Lambert Cousteaux of the Congr^ation of the 
Mission^ showed to all great civility and respect, which were 
always aooompanied with remarkable sweetness and cordial-* 
ity, though by nature he was inclined to rigor. His coun-r 
tenance was always cheerful, and his words courteous and 
such as could give no one offence. By these pleasant man* 
ners he soon won hearts, so that all who talked with him 
went away content, and happy, and greatly pleased with 
liis affability to all, and with the Christian condescension 
with which he yielded to their sentiments and opinions. 

St. Vincent de Paul was never heard to contend or dis- 
pute about indifferent things, but took the word of others 
with all facility, and adapted himself to their views. 

We read of St. John Berchmans that he never quarrelled 
with any one. For this reason, all his companions not 
only loved him tenderly, but allowed themselves to be 
admonished and ruled by him, as if he had authority over 

17. Let us strive to be amiable, sweet, and humble with all, but 
especially with those whom Gk)d has placed near us, such as our ser- 
vants. And let us not be of those who seem angels abroad, but de- 
mons at home.— iSi^. F, de Sales, 

This blessed Sainttreated every one in his house with great 
kindness, even the servants, whom he never used roughly 
either in word or deed. His orders to them were given in the 
form of requests ; he always courteously returned their salu- 
tations ; he never complained of their mistakes in preparing 
bis apartments or his food ; he was most thoughtful in giving 
directions, sparing them inconvenience as much as he could. 
When he ooidd not avoid blaming them* he did it with so 


much kindness and consideration that they were ashamed, 
and were sure to amend ; for mildness has such a charm 
that every one surrenders to it. An incident that oocorved 
one evenings may serve as an example. A marquis who 
had visited him on some important business, remained 
until it had grown quite dark. The Bishop's servants, in 
the mean time, trusting their work to one another, not only 
left their master without attendance, but even without a 
light, so that when the marquis was ready to go, the Bishop 
was obliged to lead him by the hand through the corridor 
and across the hall. When they reached the door, they 
found the servants amusing themselves with those the mar- 
quis had brought. After the guest had departed, the Saint 
said very quiedy to his valet : " My fiiend, two fiurthings' 
worth of candle would have done us much credit to-night.'' 
Such were the corrections given by this mild prelate, of 
whom Monsignor di Bellei testifies that there was never a 
master kinder to his servants, or more beloved by them. 

St. Vincent de Paid always showed an admirable gentle- 
ness to all the members of his Congr^ation. He met them 
with a kind and cheerftd countenance, giving them firequent 
marks of fiitherly love and cordiality, especially when he 
was sending them to a mission, or on a long journey. 
When they returned, he spoke to them with so much affiEi- 
bility, and embraced them with so mucli cordiality, that he 
completely won their hearts ; so that one of them said : 
**When lam going on a journey, or returning from one, I fed 
peHumed with the embrace and the welcome which he truly 
bestows on me.'' His words were so full of spiritual unc- 
tion and efficacy, that he could have everything done that 
he wished, without an efibrt on his part. His manner was 
the same when they went to him on their own personal 
loonoems. He listened with courtesy and cordiality, and 


iMiver gave the least sign of impatience^ even if he was en- 
gaged in important and urgent business. This courtesy 
uras shown in a special manner towards the lay-brothers. 
One of them went to him on a certain occasion^ to complain 
of harsh treatment he had received fix)m an official in the 
house. He was welcomed with the greatest cordiality^ and 
invited to come again in any similar case^ so that all bitter- 
ness was banished from his heart, and he went away con- 
soled and edified to find that he had so good a Father. 
One of his priests came to him one day, full of trouble, 
resolved to abandon his vocation, and return to his own 
country. The Saint listened to him, and then said, " Well, 
Father, when do you go ? Do you wish to travel on foot, 
or on horseback f' But the priest, surprised and edified by 
such meekness, was immediately freed fix)m the temptation, 
and proclaimed that his Superior was a saint. 

The conduct of the Empress Leonora was the same. Her 
manner of giving orders was so kind and so humble that 
her household could not ask for a mistress with less air of 
control and dominion. Her commands almost always took 
the form of requests, which caused the women in her ser- 
vice so much confusion, that they often entreated her to 
speak to them like a mistress, as she had a right to do. 
But she replied : " I approve and praise your sentiments ; 
but I know myself to be far different from what I seem to 
you, and I think myself more worthy to serve than to com- 
mand.'' If anything happened to &11 when she was work- 
ing with them, she was always the first to stoop and pick 
it up. However great were the faults and errors committed 
by those in her service, she always had reasons and excuses 
ready to screen them. She took all i)ossible pains not to 
displease any one, and not to cause any jealousies or sus- 
picions to arise among them. Once, she entrusted a thing, 


by mistake, to the chief tiring- woman, instead of the princi- 
pal lady in waiting. Adistraction, which she had in prayer^ 
brought this error to her reoolieotion, and rising firom her 
knees, she went on the instant to apologize to the lady, 
that she might not consider herself overlooked, and feel the 

We read of St. Jane Frances de Chantal that while she 
was still in the world, she showed the greatest nffiibility and 
charity towards all who served her. She did not scold them, 
as many do, nor reprove them for every little fiiult, bnt 
bore with them with great patience and humility, without 
ever being weary of helping them to reform, until Grod gave 
her the consolation of seeing their amendment. As a 
proof of this, she never dismissed fix)m her house m^e than 
two servants. These were quite incorrigible ; but all the rest 
remained as long as they chose, and were always well shel- 
tered, clothed, and taken care o£ Once when the Baron, 
her husband, was very angiy with a servant, and she was 
trying to pacify him, hesaid to her : '^ It is true that I am 
too impulsive, but you are too good.'^ 

18. Besist your impatience faithfully, practising, not only with 
reason, hut even against reason, holy courtesy and sweetness to all, 
hut especially to those who weary you most. — St. F. de Sale$, 

St. Francis himself excelled in this. We read in his Life 
that a poor lawyer often visited him in r^ard to trifling 
matters of business, and that the Saint always listened to 
him with great courtesy and without any sign of weariness ; 
so that many wondered how a prelate who had so many 
important occupations, could listen quietly to stupid trifles 
which might weary even an idle man. 

St. Vincent de Paul furnishes another example. It 
often happened that he was obliged to repeat the same thing 

MAY.— MEEKKEB8. 181 

>iiaiiy times^ either becsause people did not understand hinii 
or forgot what they had heard. But he was always calm, 
and showed neither ang^ nor weariness, nor did he send 
them away. He welcomed them with a cheerful counte- 
nance and with great affability, that they might not feel 
discouraged or slighted ; and when he was in company with 
any one of high rank, if he saw them coming, he rose, and 
went to speak to them in private, repeating the same thing 
always with civility. One of them testified that he made 
him repeat the same thing five times in succession, when he 
was engaged, too, with persons of high rank ; yet he never 
gave the least sign of impatience, repeating it the last time 
with the same quiet and calmness as he did at first, and 
showing in his &ce pleasure rather than dissatis&ction. 

19. The highest degree of meekness censists in seeing, serTing, 
honoring, and treating amiably, on occasion, those who are not to 
oar taste, and who show themselves unfriendly, ungrateful, and 
troublesome to us. — 8i. F. de Sales, 

This holy Bishop was at one time laboring for the con- 
version of a heretical woman, quite advanced in years, who, 
for a long time, came to him every day with new doubts. 
He listened to her with great amiability, and without ever 
showing any weariness, though he could see that he gained 
nothing. But the woman did not grow tired of knocking 
at his door three or four times a day, so muc^h was she at- 
tracted by his gentle demeanor. Finally, she said that she 
had no other difficulty except in regard to the celibacy of 
the clergy. The Saint replied to this that it was necessary 
for them, in order that, being free from the care of a family, 
they might serve the people, and that indeed it would have 
been difficult for him to talk with her so often, if he had a 
wife and children to take care of. This reason was more 


ocmvinoing to her than all the arguments of theologians^ and 
she was converted. 

When St. Jane Franoes de Cbantal was living in the house 
of her fiither*in-]aw^ she endeavored^ by the most obliging 
and gentle manners^ to win over an insolent servant who was 
there, and who behaved as if she herself were the mistress of 
the house. She tried to please her in all she thought most to 
her taste, and even went so &r as to wash and dress, instruct 
and take care of, her children like her own. She reproved 
the servants also if they showed any contempt for her. This 
went on for seven years, the servant growing all the time 
,.o« taught, .nd^^^o™. XZyc.,Uth. 
Saint that she was losing her time, in trymg to gain over 
such a woman by civil and gentle methods, she answered : 
^' That woidd be true, if I had not others besides her in view. 
Did notour Lord say that all we do for the poor, whom He 
commends so specially to us, He will consider as done to 
Himself? With (rod, notlung is lost, and the less gratitude 
we receive fix)m men, the more account will Grod make of 
what we do to them for His sake.'' To another who said 
that at her &ther-in-law's death this servant ought to be 
thrown into a ditch, she answered : " No, I would take up 
her defence myself. If (rod makes use of her that I may 
have a cross to bear, why should I wish her ill ?'' Another 
tried to show her how unsuitable it was that the control of 
the household should be in the hands of a servant. But she 
replied : '^ Grod ordains it thus for my advantage, that I may 
have all my time for works of charity.'' To the father-in- 
law, who permitted this, she showed every mark of defer- 
ence and special respect ; and when she left the world, she 
recommended him warmly to a priest, requesting him to be 
present at his death. 

Father John Leonardi was also remarkable for this 

MAY.^-MBfiKKSaS. 183 

lasit. For the space of forfy years he bore persecations and 
trials fix)m all kinds of people, yet he never let slip a word 
of aversion, snger, resentment, or ill-feeling towards them, 
bat always tried to do them good, and to help them by word 
and act He constantly prayed for them, excused them, de- 
fended them, and treated each of them as he would one of 
his dearest friends. Though he knew that some monks of 
a certain Order, to which he had been sent as inspector, 
by commission of the Apostolic See, — being impatient of the 
r^nlar discipline he had restored, were plotting and writ- 
ing to the Sacred Congr^ation against him, he yet showed 
no resentment, and took no steps to defend himself. He 
behaved, to these abbots on the contrary, with charity and 
courtesy, as if they were his intimate friends; and when some 
of them rudely asisailed him by word and act, he passed the 
matter over lightly and gently, correcting them mildly, or 
giving them some moderate penance, when it was necessary, 
as he said, to satisfy his own conscience. But he never men- 
tioned what had been done against himself personally, either 
in writing to the Sacred Congregation, in the general chap- 
ters, nor on any other occasion that offered itself. When 
he was walking, one day, in Lucca, he met one of these 
monks, who, after loading him with harsh and abusive epi- 
thets, without any resistance on his part, struck him a heavy 
blow on one cheek. The servant of God, without any anger, 
turned the otlier cheek, as if to receive a second blow ; but 
the assailant, abashed at this, turned his back and went 
away. Then Father John, glad to see himself reckoned 
worthy to suffer something for the love of his God, went 
home, and for many days prayed for this misguided man 
as a q>ecial benefactor. 

20. Beware of becomiog vexed or impatient at the faults of othen ; 


for it would be folly when you iee a man falling into a ditch, to tlirow 
yoorielf into another to no purpose.— 5^. Banaventura. 

Oardinal Cesariniiamanof most gentle disposition^ hav- 
ing been told that the mole he usually rode was lost, 
through the neglect of a servant, sent for him ; but when he 
asked him about the matter, the man replied very rudely. 
The Cardinal was silent at first, but when the servant con- 
tinued his impertinence, he turned to the bystanders, and 
said : ^^ Do not wonder at my silence, for I thought it best to 
suppress my anger, and give reason time to gain control 
over passion, lest I should fidl myself into a &ult, by trying 
to correct the &ult of another/' 

A reckless youth was once brought to St. Francis de Sales, 
that the Saint might give him a private correction ; but 
instead of rigor, he showed extreme gentleness with him. 
Seeing his obstinacy, he shed bitter tears, sayiug that this 
young man would come to a bad end, as indeed happened, for 
he was killed in a duel. When St. Francis was afterwards 
blamed for being too mild on this occasion, he answered : 
" What would you have me do ? I tried as well as I could, to 
arm myself with an anger that should not be sinful, and 
therefore I took my heart in both my hands, but I had not 
strength to fling it in his face. And then, to tell the truth, 
I feared to lose that little stock of mildness, which I have 
labored for twenty-two years to collect, like dew, in the vase 
of my heart. The bees have been many years in gathering 
the honey, which a man swallows at a draught. Besides, 
what is the use of speaking to one who does not listen ? 
That foolish youth was not capable of correction, for he was 
not master of his own judgment. So I could not have 
helped him, and might have injured myself, like those who 
are drowned with shipwrecked sailors, whom they are try- 
inf to rescue. Charity onght to be judicious and prudent.'' 

MAT. — ^MEEKKESS. 186 

21. Tou should never be displeased at the sight of your own im- 
perfections, except with a displeasure humble, tranquil, and peaceful, 
not excited and angry ; for this latter kind does more harm than 
good.—iS^. F. da Sales, 

St. Francis practised this in his own case. He said one 
day : " For myself, if I liad, for example, a great desire 
not to fidl into the vice of vanity, and yet fell very deeply 
into it, I should not wish to reproach myself in this manner, 
— " Are you nota wretch, an abomination, for havingallowed 
yourself to be conquered by this vice, after so many resolu- 
tions ? Die of shame ! do not raise your eyes to heaven, 
bold, disloyal traitor to Grod P — or with similar words. But 
I would prefer to correct it quietly, and in a compassionate 
way, saying : ^ Come now, my poor heart, here we are fallen 
again into the ditch, which we have so many times resolved 
to avoid. Ah, let us rise up, and leave it once for all I 
Let us have recourse to the mercy of God, and hope in it, 
for it will aid us to be more constant in future ; and in the 
mean time let us return to the road of humility. Courage I 
let us rise above ourselves, for God will help us, and we 
shall advance.' Upon this reproach I would found a firm 
and solid resolution not to &11 again into the error, and to 
apply suitable remedies." 

St. Vincent de Paul never felt anger or bitterness against 
himself on account of his defects, and often said that vice 
should be hated and virtue loved, not because the former 
displeases us, and the latter pleases us, but only for love of 
Grod, who hates vice and loves virtue ; and thus the pain 
felt for a defect will have something in it sweet and tranquil. 

St. Aloysius Gt)nzaga was not discouraged wlien he com- 
mitted faults, but only turned his glance upon his own 
heart, and said, " Ten^a deditfruotum mvm^^ — The earth 
has yielded its fruit. 


82. If one wishes to acquire liberty of spirit, and not always walk 
in darkness, be sbould feel no trouble in regard to aridities, disqoiets, 
distractions, or involuntary thoughts.— i6K. Tereta. 

Tlie Saint just mentioned practised this herself. What 

iou8 and fix>m others, and from Satan himself, had she not 
to suffer in her life I Yet, in so many and various adver- 

like a rock beaten by the waves of the sea^ without taking 
any of these thinirs to heart. In this way she enjoyed a 
fi^om of spirit iSle less than angeUc. 

We read the same of St. Francis de Sales^ who was never 
disquieted by whatever happened to him^ however adverse 
it might be. To a ladj who had asked his advice upon 
this subject, he wrote thus : ^^ You would prefer to see 
yourself without defects and without temptations^ rather 
than in the midst of imperfections and afflictions. I would 
like it too^ and we shall be so in Paradise. But the dis- 
quiet which you feel at not being able to arrite at this 
stage of perfection in this life, makes you doubt whether 
your hatred of sin be good. No^ it is not pure^ for it dis- 
quiets you. Hate your imperfections, then, because they are 
imperfections^ but love them because they make you know 
your nothingness, and give to you an opportunity to exer- 
cise yourself in virtue, and to Grod to show His mercy 
towards you.'* 

28. Be very mild and very gracious in the midst of your exterior 
occupations, for every one expects this good example from you.— 
8t. F. de 8ale9. 

It is said of this Saint that amid all his activity he pre- 
served a countenance mild, tranquil, and peacefiil, and that 
he was nev^r known to lose the least jot of bis cheerful* 


liesfi and serenity, in whatever business he was engaged. 

The same is said of St. Vincent de Paul. He never lost 
his tranquillity of mind in the midst of affiurs, however 
numerous or troublesome they might be. And it was won- 
derful to see how he received all persons with the same seren- 
ity of countenance, and satisfied their demands, whatever 
their rank might be, with great courtesy, and without ever 
giving a sign of weariness or vexation at their importunity. 

It is related of the Abbot David that for a period of 
forty-five years, which he passed in the monastery, he was 
never seen in a passion, nor showing any sign of perturba- 
tion, but, in whatever he was engaged, his countenance bore 
a look of imperturbable sereuity and tranquillity, as if he 
were an angel among men. He must, notwithstanding, 
have been often placed in trying positions, as he was Su- 
perior over one hundred and fifty monks, some of whom 
could not have fiuled to be troublesome and unmanageable, 
and he must also have had many difScult business afiairs 
to conduct. This trait of his character is reported by Theo- 
di)ret, who says that he not only heard of it from others, 
but observed it himself in the course of a week's visit. 

The process of canonization of St. Thomas of Aquin 
states that he was never seen angry or even disturbed, but 
that at all times and in all occupations, he retained seren- 
ity and cheerfulness of countenance to such a degree, that 
those coimected with him, experienced consolation and a 
certain spiritual joy by merely looking at him. 

St. Athanasius writes of St. Anthony, that he always 
appeared so joyful, that every day seemed like Easter with 
him, and that a stranger coming to see him, could pick 
him out from a multitude of monks, by the gladness and 
benignity which shone upon his countenance. And the 
aame writer adds that this joy was occasioned by the great 


hope which he had of Paradise ; for he had his mind al- 
ways fixed on the eternal things above^ of whidi he oodld 
not think without rejoicing. 

24. Eoow and be assared, that all those thoughts which give dii* 
quiet and agitation of miod, are not in any wise from God, who is 
the Prince of Peace ; but they always proceed either from the deril, 
or from self-love, or from the esteem which we have of ourselves. 
These are the three fountains from which all our perturbatkm 
springs. Therefore, when thoughts of such a nature come to us, 
we ought to reject them at once, and make no account of them.— 
8i, F. de 8ale$. 

HereiB ihe reason why this Saint was never seen per- 
turbed or disquieted. It was because he scorned the temp- 
tations of the devil^ and was humble in hearty and a sworn 
enemy to self-love. 

When the Abbot Isaac was asked hy another monk^ why 
the devils feared him so mudi^ he replied : ** At the time 
I entered religion, I made a resolution never to let an 
impatient act or angry word escape me, and, by the grace 
of God, I have never broken it." Yet God knows how 
mnny temptations and trying circumstances he had met ! 

25. Humble mildness is the virtue of virtues which our Lord has 
recommended ta us, and therefore we ought to practise it every- 
where and always. Evil is to be shunned, but peaceably. "Good 
is to be done, but with suavity. Take this for your rule : Do what 
you see can be done with charity, and what cannot be done without 
disturbance, leave undone. In short, peace and tranquillity of heart 
ought to be uppermost in all our actions, as olive oil floats above 
all liquors.'-<8. F, ds 8ale$. 

We read of this Saint that he enjoyed an imperturbable 
peace of heart. He said himself, one day : " What is there 
that can possibly disturb our peace? If all the world 
were in oonfusion, I should not be troubled ; for what is 

MAY. — ^MESENESS. 189 

all the World worth in comparison with peace of heart ?'' 
His actS; too^ corresponded to his words. Though he had the 
reform of the monasteries much at heart, he never used his 
authority to carry it out, knowing well that what is done 
by force is not lasting. So he preferred to fail in his plans 
rather than to execute them by violence, and waited until 
time, or rather until Grod, should work those changes in 
hearts, that are above the power of any creature. 

It was St. Vincent de Paul's maxim that though one 
ought to hold firmly to the end proposed in good under- 
takings, it was equally suitable to employ all possible amia- 
bility and sweetness in the means ordained to that end. 
For this is an imitation of the Divine Wisdom, which, 
though it reaches its ends strougly, yet disposes sweetly 
the means that lead to them. 

26. If it be possible, never yield to anger, nor admit any pretext 
for opening to it the door of your heart ; for, should it once enter 
there, it will not be in your power to expel it when you please, or 
ever to control it. If you see that through your weakness it has 
gained a foothold in your spirit, iDStanily gather all your forces to 
re-establish peace and traoquillity. But this must be done quietly 
and never violently ; for it is a matter of much importance not to 
irritate (he wound.— <S^. F. de Sales. 

The same Saint employed in his own conduct this princi- 
ple of applying self-control where it could be useful, without 
concerning himself with what was involuntary, as he says 
in these words : " Have I made, for example, a resolution 
to acquire mildness ? Very well, now let anger malce a 
chaos of my poor heart, let my brain be all on fire, let my 
blood boil like a seething caldron, — I make no account of 
all this. Meanwhile, I do not cease to be mild in all such 
ways as are possible, and I silence and choke all the reasons 
that nature would offer in justification of this passion.^' It 


onoe happened that one of his relatives^ aggrieved by 
thing which be thought this holy man had done, went to 
his hoose^ and loaded him with insults and threats. The 
Sainty who was entirely innocent^ sought to nndeoeive him^ 
and tried to pacify l)im with great mildness and ooortesy. 
But the gentleman^ overcome by anger^ would listen to noth- 
ing, and went on abusing and insulting him, until he fi- 
nally went away still storming and full of ill-will. Then the 
Saint, turning to a Religious who was present and was 
much astonished at his patience, said to him : '^ Father, it 
was not desirable to exasperate this good man still more by 
showing him his rashness. He will know it well some day, 
and will repent of if And so he did ; for, a few days 
after, he came to ask pardon. It is said that the patiaioe 
of St. Francis was never known to waver, nor was his heart 
ever known to cherish resentment against any one. From 
tills it clearly appears that this holy virtue, which shone so 
remarkably in him, did not result, us many believe, from a 
disposition all sweetness by nature, but from the great and 
continual violence he had done to himself. On the contraiy, 
he was of a bilious temperament, and confessed of himself 
that he had taken the greatest pains to conquer it, and that 
he had labored at this for twenty-two years with great con- 
stancy and courage. This was clearly shown after his death, 
for when his body was opened there was nothing found in 
the gall-bladder but three hundred grains of sand, whidi 
was a manifest proof of his innumerable struggles to repress 
the emotions of anger. 

Such was the case of many other Saints, in whose Lives 
we read that they were never seen to give way to anger, 
but that even on the most exciting occasions, they always 
showed the same tranquillity of countenance and serenity 
of souL Among these were St Anthony, St. Ephrem, Sti 

ICAY. — HEEKKE88. 191 

ThmnaB Aquinas, St Vinoent de Paul, and others, especially 
the glorious St. Philip Neri, who would sometimes put on 
an appearance of severity to exercise his novices in humility* 
Th^ as soon as they were gone, he would turn to any who 
might be present, and say, ^^ Did I not seem to be in a 
passion ?" and mstantly resume his previous serenity of ex* 

87. The remedies against anger are : 1. To forestall its movements, 
if possibk, or at least to cast them aside quickly, by turning the 
thoughts to something else. 8. In imitation of the Apostles when 
they saw the sea raging, to have recourse to Gk>d. whose office it is 
to give peace to the heart 8. During the heat of passion, not to 
qwak. nor take any action as to the matter in question. 4. To 
strive to perform acts of kindness and humility towards the person 
against whom one is incensed, especially in reparation for any of a 
contrary nature.— iS^. F. de 8ale$. 

This good Saint was often wrongfully assailed by others 
with insulting words. To avoid yielding to anger in such 
cases, he would sometimes think of some good quality they 
possessed, to excite a sentiment of love for them ; or again, 
he would be silent and let them talk, if he had tried sweet- 
ness and courtesy in vain. To a gentleman who had been an 
astonished witness of his heroic patieace, he once said : 
** You see I have made a compact with my tongue, that 
when anything is said against me that may excite me to an- 
ger, it will beware of uttering a word." 

Tf St. Vincent de Paul was at any time moved to anger, 
he abstained from speaking and from acting, and, above all, 
he never resolved upon anything, until he felt that his pas- 
sion had subsided. He often said that actions performed 
under excitement may appear good, but can never be per- 
fect, as they are not fully directed by reason, which is then 
perturbed wi ob9cured, and that in spite of all the ebul- 


litioDS of anger and all imaginable pretexts of zeal, we ahould 
speak only soft and courteous words, that we may gain our 
neighbors to God. Therefore, while the emotion lasted, 
he made every effort to hinder any trace of it from ap- 
pearing on his countenance, and if, on rare occasions, there 
escaped him any word or gesture which might indicate im- 
patience or severity, he immediately asked pardon. One 
day he spoke with a great deal of decision to a lay-brother 
who had excused himself under various pretexts for giving 
lodging to a stranger. Though he had done this with the 
best intention, and the brother recognized his error, he yet 
humbled himself for it that same evening, and wished to 
kiss the lay-brother's feet. Another time he feared that 
he had offended a lay-brother, by telling him to have pa- 
tience and wait a little for the solution of certain doubts 
that he had proposed to him. In this uncertainty he would 
not say Mass, until he had asked his pardon. |^ 

When the venerable Monseigneur de Palafox felt his |^ 
emotions of anger or excessive zeal springing up in his 
mind while he was giving a reproof, he would instantly 
raise his heart to God, and say : ^^ O Lord, hold &st in this 
tempest the rudder of my reason, that I may not transgress it* 
Thy holy wUl in any thing.'' Ik 

A great philosopher gave Augustus Csesar this advice : II 

' " When you feel any emotion of anger, do not say or do i 

anything, until you have run over in your mind at least 

the twenty-four letters of the alphabet.'' 

Plutarch tells of a certain king of Thrace who was re- 
markable for his violent temper, and the cruel punishments 
he inflicted on his servants. One of his friends gave him 
some vases, which were fragile, but beautifully wrought. 
He gave his friend a handsome present in return, and then 
broke the vases. When some one expressed amazement at 



Aas latter action^ lie said: ** I did this so that I might not 
t oome to inflict mj usual crueltieB on any one who should 
break tihem.'^ 

88. Accustom your heart to be docile, manageable, Bubmtosive, and 
ready to yield to all io all lawful things, for ihe love of your moat 
sweet Lord ; so will you become like the dove, which receives all tho 
colors which the sun gives it For this end, put your soul eveiy 
morning in a posture of humility, tmnquillity, and sweetness, and 
notice from time to time through the day, if it has become entangled 
in affection for anything ; and if it be not quiet, disengaged, and tran- 
quil, set it at rest.— ^. F. da 8al6$. 

Tliis holy prelate was so remarkable for accommodating 
himself to the dispositions of all^ that Alexander VII, in his 
eulogy, could find no way to describe him better than to say, 
that God had willed to make him all to all. Among the 
inniunerable proo& of this, it will be enough to mentipf 
one connected with St. Jane Frances de Chantal. She vMk. 
a&aid of losing him, on account of his excessive application 
to bis work, and the little care he took of his health, and so 
she entreated him to take more care of himself. Equally 
humble and yielding, he answered her : ** 1 take care of 
myself as much as possible, more because you tell me to, 
than from any inclination I have to this sort of attention. 
I imagine, however, that it is God's will that I should de- 
sire something for your sake, and now let Him do with me 
according to His good pleasure." On other occasions also 
he gave her the same assurance. 

St. Vincent de Paul had the habit deeply rooted in his 
nature, of being pliable and ready to follow every one's will 
in indiiSerent matters. 

The Abbot Agatho declared that he had never retired to 
rest without having first stifled every emotion of anger, 
even against himself^ and that he did 90 to liilfil the pr^- 


cept, Diverte a male d fae bomm; inquire paeem dpent* 
guere earn — ^Tnrnaway from evil^ and do good ; seek peaoi^ 
and pursoe it. 

89. A moit importftot meant ot acqaliliig ioterior nSidntm k to 
accttstom oarielres to perfonn all our actioos, and to qwakaU our 
words, whether importaot or oat, qoietljr aod ftotlj. Mult^^lf 
tbeae acta aa much aayou cao io the time of traoqiiilliqr, and ao yoa 
will aocnatom your heart to geotleoeaa.— i6i^. F, ds 8aU$. 

The Saint himaelf practised this advioe well^ for he nercr 
aeemed harried on any occasion. When a peraon oooe 
asked him about this^ he answered : ^^ Yon ask me bow I 
manage not to be hurried and troubled when every cmeelse 
is. How shall I answer you ? I did not come into the 
world to bring perplexities ; are there not enough in it al« 

aO. To keep the loul coDtlntially hi a state of geotle calm. It is 
« iBessary to perform every action aa being done in the preaeaoe of 
God, and as if He Himself had ordaioed it.— i6i^. F, ds Balm. 

This is the reason why St. John Berchmans performed 
all his actions so regularly, and was so even-tempered on 
all occasions, without any alteration or perturbati<m« It 
was because he constantly enjoyed the Divine presence, and 
was accustomed before beginning any action, to plan it 
with God, and to remain in His sight while doing it 

When one of the Fathers of the Desert was asked how he 
contrived to lead a life so well-ordered and so perfectly 
even, he answered : ^^ I keep my eyes always upon my 
guardian angel, who stands ever at my side, assisting me 
in every work, teadiing me in all circumstances what I 
have to say and do, and noting carefully every one of my 
actions. Thence arise in me such fear and res|)ect for him, 
as make me ever attentive not to say or to do an; 
that can displease him. 


8L One great means of preserving a constant peace and tranquil- 
lity of hearty is to receive all things as coming from the hands of 
Ood, whaterer they may be, and in whatever way they may come. 

SL Gatherine of Sienna once asked the Lord the waj to 
obtain troe peace of heart, and He answered : '^ It is to be^ 
lieve that all that happens in the world, comes by the order 
and disposal of Qoi, and that He never makes anything 
happen to any one that is not best for him/' 

It is told of St. Macarius that he was never seen angry 
or melancholy, bnt that he always appeared cheerftil, and 
possessed of a heavenly gayety. The cause of this was, that 
he received all that happened to him as coming from the 
hands of Qoi. Severus Sulpicius, who spent much time 
with St Martin, says the same of him. 

When the servants of David wished to avenge him upon 
Semei, '^ No,'' he said, '^ for it is God who has conmianded 
him to curse me ; and who shall ask Him why He does 


St. Francis de Sales was once shamefiilly abused by a 
certain gentleman, in presence of a Religious, who was so 
amazed at his patience that he took the first opportunity 
of asking him how he could bear so many insults with so 
much tranquillity. " Do you not perceive," he replied, 
''that Gkxl has foreseen from all eternity the grace He 
would bestow on me, that I might bear these reproaches 
willingly ? And would you not have me drink this chal- 
ice, which has been prepared for me by the hands of sq 
good a Father." 

" I never," said an illuminated soul, " had fiilly under-. 
stood this truth, so often repeated again and again, that not 
a hair fidls from our heads without the will of our Heav- 
enly Father. To understand this clearly and ftdly, makes 


die ionl ft shftfer in celestiftl jort wliik ttill oo evtliy sad 
tlie eroM which was before a hell, beoomeB for her ft {«»- 
diee. All this is becauie she taatea the marvelloiif aweti- 
neaatfaat lies hidden for pore aonla in a command of God 
And it is enough that any thing should be His command^ 
to oaose her to fiiid in it peace and tranquillilj.^ 

We read of the venerable Mother Serafdiina that in any 
trial or misfortune that happened to her, all she did was 
to praise and bless Qod. She often said : '^God is oar 

Father, and whatever He does, aU is fin* our advantage. H 
this had not been fin* our good« it would not have hqipened.'' 
News was once brought to her, that a ship loaded wiA 
provisions purdiased in Salerno for her convent, had been 
wrecked. She immediatelj took her daughters with her ta 
the diapel, and there she praised and thanked the Lord fiir 
tliis act of His providence ; and she said that it was as 
pleamng to her as if she had done it with her own hands 
and bjr her own dioice, nay much more so as it had betfi 
done bj the hand of God. 



AU tking$ tghatiOiver that they command you, obune and di#.<*]lalt. 

zziii : 8. 

1. We all have a nalaral inclioation to oommand, and a greal 
averdon to obey ; and yet, it is certain that it la more to our advan- 
tage to obey than to command. It is for this reason that perfect 
aonls have ao great an affection for obedience, and find in it all their 

These are the words of St. Francis de Sales^ and in &ct 
this Saint exercised himself much in this virtue^ although 
he was a Bishop and Superior of so many houses. He 
even obeyed his chamberlain in r^ard to rising and retir- 
ing to rest, dressing and undressiog^ as if he had been the 
servant instead of the master. 

St. Teresa often said : '^ One of the greatest graces for 
which I feel bound to thank our Lord, is that His Divine 
Kajesty has given me a desire to be obedient ; since in this 
virtue I experience the greatest consolation and content, as 
the one which our Lord enjoined upon us more than any 
other ; and therefore I desire to possess it more than any- 
thing else in the world.'^ 

St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi had so great a love for obe- 
dienoe that evai though a command might be very diffi- 
colt to execute, or her weariness extreme, she never ap- 
peared reluctant, or showed the least sign of discontent, but 
aoo^l^t e d everything with a cheerful countenance^ as if the 


most agreeable proposal bad been made to her. It even 
occurred to her to doubt of her own merit in obeying, on ac- 
count of the great ease and delight which she experienced 
in it. But she did not content herself with submission to 
her Superioress. Of her own accord, she subjected herself 
also to her companions, and even to her inferiors. WiA 
this intention, she chose one of her Sisters, whose pt^rmis- 
sion she asked for even the most minute things which she 
desired or found it necessary to do, and obeyed her in 
everything in spite of all difficulties. If she could not 
have access to this particular Sister, she would ask the per- 
mission of some other ; and whoever was her companion in 
any employment, she always jdelded precedence to her, and 
followed her plans and methods. 

2. Obedience is, without doubt, more meHtorious than any anster- 
ity. And what greater austerity can be thought of than that of 
keeping one's will constantly submissive and obedient? — Bi. Cath- 
erine qf Bologna, 

When St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi was sick, she was 
accustomed to refuse any delicate food or costly medicine 
that was offered her ; but if the bringer required her to take 
it as an act of obedience, she made no further objections ; 
but saying only ^' Blessed be Grod," she would instantly 
take it. 

As St. Dositheus was not able to practise austerities, or 
even the ordinary exercises of religion, on account of his 
feeble health, he turned his attention wholly to the practice 
of obedience, and ailer five years spent in this manner, it 
was revealed to him that a crown like that of the great St 
Anthony awaited him in heaven. When some of tlie her- 
mits who had been most fervent in penances and in all the 
other exercises, felt a^rieved at this, our Lord signified to 


bem that thqr had felled to uoderstaud the full merit of 

8. Obedience is a peoaeoe of the soul, and for that reason a saeri* 
Ice more acceptable than all corporal penances. Thence it happens 
JtkBt Ood loves more the least degree of obedience in thee, than all 
fche other senrices thou mayest think to render Him.— iSt. John qfiha 

This Saint^ having finished his studies and returned to 
the monastic life^ showed that he had a high opinion of 
himself^ on account of his great learning. To cure him, 
his director gave him a catechism, telling him to lay aside 
all other books and read this alone, picking out the words 
syllable by syllable, like a child. He continued to do this 
for a long time, and with great application, and ailerwards 
cun&ssed that he derived from it not only a high d^ree of 
obedience, but many other virtues as well. 

We read in the Lives of the Fathers that four monks 
once visited the Abbot Pambo, and each of them told him 
in private of the virtues of the others. One fested severely ; 
another did not possess the smallest thing ; this one glowed 
with the most fervent charity ; while that one had lived 
in the practice of obedience for twenty years. When the 
Abbot had heard these things, one after the other, he said : 
" The virtue of this last is greatest of all, for the rest 
followed their own will, but he has made himself the servant 
of another's will.*' 

4. A little drop of simple obedience is worth a million times more 
than a whole vase full of the choicest contemplations.— iSS(. if. M, di 

We read of a holy nun who was one day enjoying the 
company of the Infant Jesus in her cell, when she was sent 
for by her Superioress. Begging Him to wait for her^ she 


went to obey the sammoDS, and when she returned ibj 
found Him no longer an in&nt, but wearing the £arm di 
full-grown youth. By this He intended to show her horn 
much her prompt obedience had caused Him to grow qpirit* 
uallj in her heart in so short a time. 

One day^ when St. Frances of Rome was xeciting tb L 
Office of the Blessed Virgin^ she was interrupted four tiiiui |^ 
while repeating a single antiphon^ by the voice of her hii»- 
band calling her. Each time she answered promptly, and \^ 
when she returned the fourth time, she found the antiphoi 
written in letters of gold. 

5. To pick up a straw from the ground through obedlencet is imm F 
meritorious than to preach, to fast, to use the discipline to blood, ud p 
to make long prayers, of one's own wiU.— JBodri^iMi. 

A Cistercian monk, having gathered up a few cmmhs at g 
the close of a meal^ had not had time to eat them, as tke 
signal for leaving the table was given, and grace was said. 
He was unwilling to waste them, but his rule forbade him 
to eat anything except at the regular repasts. He therefbrs 
went to his Superior, and kneeling, asked what he shouM 
do. But when, at his Superior's command, he opened his 
hand to show him the crumbs, they were changed into pre- 
cious gems. 

6. All the good of creatures consists in the fulfilment of the Oi- 
▼ine will. And this is never better attained than by the practice of 
obedience, in which is found the annihilation of selMove and the true 
liberty of sons of God. This is the reason why souls truly good ex- 
perience such great joy and sweetness in obedience. — 8L F. de BauL 

The Saint just quoted had himself gained so complete a 
submission to the Divine will that he cheerfully obeyed who- 
ever had authority over him, as the Pope, Bishops, priettii 
and civil rulers as well| and evinced sjiecial respect wi 

JUNE.— 0BEDIENC8. 901 

rm e r ati cm for each of them. An incident iu his relations 
vith his director deserves notice here. Having with his con- 
Bnrrenoe left tht^ house of Cond^, to avoid the high esteem in 
iiiu<^ he was held there^ he could not be induced to return, 
though entreated to do so by many men of high rank. 
At last there came a letter from his director, not command- 
ing his return, but merely mentioning the desire which these 
iMA>le8 had for it. Immediately a doubt arose in his mind 
SB to what he ought to do, and this could not be quieted 
except by a personal interview with the director^ who then 
exhibited some preference for his return. Upon this he 
went back without hesitation. 

St Mary Magdalen di Pazzi had such great affection and 
r^rd for obedience as a saf^uard from the danger of do- 
ing one's own will, that the thought of acting under it was 
sufficient to restore her peace and serenity, when she was 
burdened by an unusual trial or labor. 

7. Whoerer has not the Tirtue of obedience, cannot be called a 
Religious. Whoever, then, is under obedience by tow, and fails 
llierelo, not using every exertion to observe her vow with the utmost 
perfection, — I cannot understand why she remains in the con- 
vent.— jST. Ter$ta. 

St. Margaret of Hungary, a Dominican nun, was in the 
habit of taking all directions that were given to the com- 
munity as addressed to herself, and as if their observance de- 
pended upon her. 

St. Jane Frances de Chantal once gave permission to a 
Sister, in a case of urgent need, to use some money which 
St. Francois de Sales had put into her hands to be employed 
for the sick alone. Though the Sister was sure to replace 
it firom a gift that had been promised her, Mother de Chan- 
tal hegBoi to &ar that she had fitiled in obedience, and sent 


for St. Francis, Who came tlie next monuiig to die oonvaAf 
She immediately threw herself at his feet, and, weeping, oQH-t^ 
fessed her fault ; and she herself said afterwards that skj 
oould never think of it without tears. 

8. Would you know who are true monks T Those who bj 
UficatioD hare brought their will under such control* that thejMl 
longer have any wish except to obey the precepts and comisdi €f ' 
their Superior .~i8^. Fulgentitu, 

St. Francis once gave the blessed I^dius fidl freedom to 
choose whatever province or montistery he might prefer as a 
place of residence. After four days of this liberty, Egidins |: 
was surprised at finding himself much troubled in mind. 
Then returning to the Saint, he earnestly entreated him to fix 
his abode for life, for he knew that this liberty would ban- 
ish all peace from his soul. 

9. Every Sister, on entering religion, should leave her own will 
outside the gate, in order to have no will but that of God. — J3t, F. d$ 

St. Dositheus said of himself that from his first en- 
trance into religion he completely gave up his own will, I 
subjecting it in every thing to that of his Superior, to whom \ 
he also revealed all his temptations and all his desires. And 
he added that in this way he had attained such peace of 
heart and tranquillity of mind that nothing oould ever dis- 
turb him. 

10. Many Religious and others have been saints without medita- 
tion, but without obedience no one. — 8t, F. de 8cUst. 

A lay-brother of St. Bernard's Order being dango^ 
ously ill, the Saint visited him, and encouraged him with 
the hope that he would soon pass from labor to eternal 
rest. ^^ Yes,'' replied he, " I confide in the Diviqe Meicyi 



and feel eertain that I shall soon go to enjoy Grod/' The 
Sainty feeling that this might be presumption^ said reprov- 
ingly : " What do you mean^ brother ? When you were so 
wretched and had nothing to live on^ God put you in this 
place, where you have lived so weU ; and instead of being 
thankful for this fiivor, do you now claim His kingdom, 
as if it were your inheritance ?" " Father/^ replied the 
rick man, " what you say is true, but have you not preached 
that the kingdom of God is purchased not by riches or no- 
bility, but by the virtue of obedience ? Now, I have kept 
these words in mind, and have never &iled to obey any one 
who has given me an order, as all in the monastery will 
teil you. Why, then, have I not reason to hope for what 
you have promised me V^ The Samt was much pleased at 
this, and told it to all in the house after the brother's death. 

11. Obedience is the'BQininary of perfection and of the whole spirit- 
mi life, and theiecureet, shortest, least laborious, and least dangeroas 
way of becoming enriched with all virtues, and arriving at the goal 
of our desires— eternal life. — AlvavM. 

St. Teresa was fully persuaded of this truth, which led 
her to say that if all the angels together told her to do one 
thing, while her Superior commanded the contrary, she 
would always give the preference to the order of the Su- 
perior. " Because," she added, " obedience to Superiors 
is commanded by GJod in the Holy Scriptures, and conse- 
quently it is of faith, and there can be no deception about it ; 
but revelations are liable to illusion." And, in fact, she 
often disclosed to her director things revealed to her by God, 
and when he disapproved of them, she immediately let them 

St. Frances of Rome, on many occasions, received com- 
mands fix)m Grod to do certain things, but she never did them 


without first having the oonaeat of her oonfestory whidi 
very pleasing to our Lord. 

On her death-bed, St Mary Magdalen di Passi eaid thai 
nothing in the review of her whole life gave her so modk 
oomfort as the certainty that she had never been guided iu 
anything by her own will and judgmenty but always by the 
will and judgment of her Superiors and direotonu 

St Paul/sumamed the Simple^ received grace to perform 
miracles^ after serving Gh)d only a short time in perfect obe- f 

12. The deyil, leeing that there is no shorter road to the sammit 
of perfection than that of obedience, artfuUy insinuates many repug- 
nances and difflculties'under color of good, to prevent us from follow- 
ing itSC. Terua. 

On account of St Bridget's extreme attachment to pen* 
anoes^ her spiritual father once forbade her to perform so 
many. She obeyed^ but with reluctance^ for she feared the 
loss of a spirit of mortification. The Blessed Virgin then 
appeared to her and said : *^ Suppose^ my daughter^ that 
two of my children desire to fast on a certain day. One, 
l)eing mistress of her own actions^ &sts ; the other, who is 
under obedience, does not fiist. The second gains two 
rewards — one for her desire, the other for her obedience. " 
Tills instruction completely reassured the Saint 

18. The more we see of failure in ohedience, the stronger should 
be our suspioion of temptation and illusion. For when God sends 
His inopiratioos to a heart, the ilrtt grace He sheds upon it is tbstof 
obedience.— iS^. Ter^a, 

When a nun wrote to St Francis de Sales that she was 
very unwilling to do some things prescribed by the rule of 
obedience, he answered in this manner : " To wish to live 
according to one's own will, in order better to perform the 

jxnn5.-*-oian>iEiroi.' 906 

nillofGod— what a wild idea is this! That an indinatiaii, 
or nther a caprioei fretful^ changeable^ bitter^ and obstinate, 
aboiddbean inspiration, — what a contradiction this would 

SunOS relates of the blessed Giordano, General of the 
I Dominicans, that when he was ill of a fever in a Piedmon- 


I tese dty, where there was no house of his Order, the Bishop 
received him and gave him a magnificent bed, soft, and 
richly curtained. The humble servant of God did not yrish 
to rest so luzuriouslj, but submitted at the wish of a prior of 
the Order, who had charge of him at the time, on account 
of his medical skill. The demon, however, seeing so good 
an opportunity, appeared to him the first night, in the form 
of a shining angel, and gazing on him with wonder, re- 
proved him, saying that he could not understand how he 
could repose in such luxury, and how he could so soon 
abandon hid usual mortifications, without thinkibg of the 
grave scandal that he would thus give to his Order. After 
adding that he ought rather to sleep on the bare ground, he 
quickly disappeared. The holy man, instantly springing 
from the bed, stretched himself upon the floor. When the 
prior returned in the morning, he was much astonished at 
the condition of things, and immediately order his chilled 
and shivering patient to returu to bed, if he did not wish 
to commit suicide. The demon, however, did not lose cour- 
age, and appeared again the next night, under the form of 
an angel of light. ^^ Oh,'' said he, ^^ I had believed that 
a warning fix)m heaven would suffice to bring you back to 
regular observance ! But I see that self-love is very strong 
in you. How do you dare to rebel against the light of 
heaven ? Obey at once the voice of God, who requires you 
to leave this efieminacy, to cure you amid the austerities 
suited to your state !" Strangely enough, the good man al- 


lowed himself to be persuaded again to exchange bis bed for 
the bare floor. But when the prior visited him the next 
time, and found him benumbed and half-£Gunting, he ex- 
claimed sharply : " What oddity or what spirit of rigor is 
this ?" But the Saint iuterrupted him^ saying that he was 
lying thus not by his own caprice, but by command of the 
angel of the Lord, who had expressly informed him that i1 
was the will of Gkxl that he should not remain in such i 
luxurious couch. " No, Father," returned the good prioi, 
^^ it cannot be an angel of the Lord that has taught you U 
disr^ard obedience. This is the malign spirit, who desira 
to destroy your life, or at least to prolong your illness, 
that he may hinder your plans for the glory of Grod ; if ke 
comes again, show him no &vor." With these and simiUr 
words he persuaded him to return to bed, and allow him- 
self to be cared for. When the demon came back on the 
third night, tiie reception he met with showed him that he 
was discovered, and he instantly fled in a paroxysm of dis- 
api)ointment and rage. The sick man soon b^an to re- 
cover, and afterwards pursued his apostolic labors with such 
success that his name became terrible to hell, and very glo- 
rious throughout the world. 

14. That obedience may be complete, it must exist in three things : 
in execution, by doing promptly, cheerfully, and exactly whatever 
the Superior orders ; in will, by willing nothing but what the Supe- 
rior wills ; in judgment, by being of the same opinion as the Supe- 
rior.— 5^. Ign. Loyola 

Whatever command was laid upon St. Mary Magdalen 
di Pazzi, she accepted it always with a cheerful countenance, 
and executed it with promptness and exactness. And, 
what is more, she obeyed blindly, without stopping to in- 
quire about the purpose and reason of the order, and 


wbeflier tbat or something else would be better ; for^ as she 
said, she would not consider herself obedieut, though she 
performed what was required^ if she did not subject her 
own judgment to that of the Superioress. Aud so, when 
she received an order^ she first applied herself to judge and 
feA as the Superioress judged and felt^ then she inclined 
her will to desire what she desired ; therefore, she found no 
difficulty in performing anything, whatever it might be. 
Once our Lord ordered her to live on bread and water, to go 
Wefooted, and to wear a single poor and patched garment ; 
but as the Superioress did not consent to this, she put on 
sfeockings, shoes, and her ordinary dress, and ate the usual 
&od, as &r as she was able, until by an evident miracle 
God changed the will of the Superiores'^. By this she showed 
that she trusted more to the judgment of Superiors than to 
her own, or even to revelations. 

The Abbot Silvanus loved one of his monks, named 
Marcus, with a special affection. When a pe^n came 
one day to tell him that the others were much offended at 
this, he brought him to the cells of the monks, and called 
them, one after another, by name. All were slow in appear- 
ing, except Marcus, who instantly came out. The Abbot 
and his companion then entering his cell, found tliat he had 
been writing, and had left a letter half finished that he might 
not delay in answering the voice of his Superior. This 
proved to all how reasonable was the Abbotts preference 
for him. 

" I take for my model,*' said St. Francis de Sales, " the 
little Babe of Bethlehem, who knew so much, could do so 
much, and allowed Himself to be managed without a 

15. Obedience constats not alone in doing what is actually com^ 


Minded, bat also in a oontional readiness to do on any oooMion 
whatever may be impoeed.— ^S^. F. de Paul. 

St Francis Xayier was so ready for any act of obedi- 
ence^ that though he was working so fruitfiilly in India^ 
and with so much satisfiurtion to himself^ he said^ that if 
at the b^inning of a promising mission he should leoeive 
an order from St. Ignatius^ his Superior, to return to It- 
aly, he would instandy break off his work and set out. 

St. Felix the Capuchin excelled greatly in this virtue. 
At the least sign from his Superiors, he showed himseL' 
ever prompt and ready to execute all their directions, how* 
ever arduous, difficult, and varied they might be, without 
excepting any. This wns so well known, that Superiors 
were careM not to mention any wish of theirs in presents 
of this holy man, without real need, for he would be sure 
to consider a mere remark as a rigorous precept, and in- 
mediately proceed to execute it. 

16. True obedience manifests itself in executing gladly and with- 
out any repugnance, thiogs whicki are objects of antipathy, or con- 
trary to one's interests.— iMrviMs. 

St. Teresa tells of herself that when the prioress ordered 
her to leave a certain foundation which she had begun by 
Divine command, and for which she had labored much, she 
instantly left it with perfect willingness ; for she judged 
this to be a proof that she had done all she could, and that 
nothing more was required of her. But even her confess- 
or would not believe in this resignation, thinking that she 
must be afflicted at so great a disappointment. 

In the convent of the venerable Sister Maria Crucifixa 
it was the rule to receive male visitors veiled. A special 
direction to the contrary was at one time given to her, 
which she obeyed readily, though with feelings of extreme 

St Jdbn BenJiinaiis was appomted to sen^ a High Mm 
it an hoar veiy inoonvaaient for hisstiidieB. He aooeptod 
the daiy gladlj, and senred the Maas for many montfaa 
without a word of eomplainty or an attempt to be relieved 
from the charge. 

We read of St Felix the CSqrachin, that he was always 
prompt in giving up his own preferenoes, and especially for 
Bctions in themselves virtuous and meritorious, which ev&k 
pious persoDs find it difficult to abandon, from motives of 
charity or mortificati<m. But if these acts ceased to be ap- 
proved by bis Superiors and directors, th^ no longer at- 
tracted him. And so, a simple prohibition was suffident 
to make him forsake any austerity or spiritual exercise, 
not only without repugnance, but witii the greatest tran- 
quillity. For example, he had for years gone barefoot 
with the consent of his Superior. But in his old age the 
Cardinal Protector, at the request of one of his companions, 
ordered him to put on sandals again. This he immedi- 
ately did, without complaint, or inquiry as to who had made 
the suggestion to the Cardinal, and without considering 
bow much his reputation would suffer among seculars, who 
would suppose that he had relaxed in virtue. 

17. ▲ traly obedient man does not discriminate between one thing 
uid another, or desire one employment more than another, since 
tiis only aim is to execute faitbfuUy whaterer may be assigned to 
tiim. — St, Bernard, 

St. Jerome wrote that when visiting hermits in the desert, 
be found one who for eight years had carried a heavy stone 
DU his shoulders twice a day, for a distance of tliree miles, 
by order of his Superior. Asking him how he could be 
willing to perform such an act of obedience, he replied that 
be had always done it with the greatest ooiitesitmesi^ v^ \i 


It had been the loftiest and most important oocnpation in 
this world. These, oonclodes the Soint^ are the ones who 
make profit and grow in perfection, for the7 nourish them- 
selves with '^ the flour of wheat/' that is, with doing the 
will of God ; and he testifies that he was himself so moved 
hy the reply he received, that fix)m that hour he decided to 
become a monk. 

18. The chief meiit of obedience consists not in following the wiU 
of a mild, amiable Superior who aaks rather than oommaods, but ia 
remaining patiently under the yoke of one who ia imperioua, rigor- 
ous, harsh, ill-humored, and nerer satisfied. This is a pure fountain 
of water gushing from the throat of a bronze lion.— /ft. F. de Sain, 

St. Jane Frances de Chantal used to say that she should 
feel greater satisfiiction in obeying the lowest Sister, who 
would do nothing but vex her and order lier about roughly 
and sharply, thflji in following the directions of the ablest 
and most experienced in the Order ; for, she said, where 
there is least of the creature, there is most of the Creator. 

St. Athana'tius relates of the ancient monks that thqr 
sought for harsh and unamiable Superiors, who would never 
be pleased with what they did, and who would reprove 
them for their good, as St. Pacomius did his disciple 
Theodosius ; and the harder and more unattractive the Su- 
perior was, the more perfect was their obedience. 

St. Catherine of Bologna desired that her Superioress 
should treat her always unkindly and impose upon her the 
hardest tasks. She said that her own experience had proved 
that obedience in ordinary mattera is indeed very useful, 
but that obedience in things difficult, or harshly commanded, 
in a short time fills the soul with virtues, and unites it to 

19. If you will not do ^o\eiiC«V>^oun^«wA'«!^'^<(\\bQlDdif- 


ferent^ as fiur as your own interests are concerned, as to who is your 
Superior,— do not flatter yourself that you will ever become a spirit- 
ual man and a faithful observer of your vows.— ^. John of the Orou. 

St Francis of Assisi said that among the graces he had re- 
ceived fix>m the Lord was this^ that he was as willing to 
obey a novice who had been in the house but an hour, as 
the most worthy of the sieniors. 

St. Francis Borgia showed the greatest veneration for all 
Superiors^ not only while in ofiBice^ but after they had retired 
from it. And when St. Ignatius appointed a lay-brother 
to take charge of lus healthy he yielded the same obedience 
to him that he would have to the Saint himself. 

dO. Remember that thou hast given thyself to the Superior for the 
love of GkKl» and to obtain the kingdom of heaven, and consequently, 
thou art no more thine own, but his to whom thou hast given 
thyself. Therefore, it is not permitted thee to do anything of thy- 
self, and without his will, since he, not thou, is the master of thy 

As &r as St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi was able^ she did 
nothing without seeking the command or permission of the 
Superior or Mistress. 

The venerable Pudenziana Terziaria^ a Franciscan nun, 
said to her confessor just before her death : ^^ Father^ since 
I gave myself into your hands, by the divine help I have 
never so much as uttered a sigh which had not the seal 
of obedience. I have now but to draw my last breath, 
which I desire should have the same merit. Give me, then, 
permission for it !" The Father, astonished at so strange 
a request, paused for a moment, and then answered : ^^ My 
daughter, I do not wish you to go yet." She inclined her 
head, and turning to the crucifix, " My Lord,*^ she said, 
'^ Thou seest I am detained. Do not compel me, for I 
cannot oongfi^ty" A Uttie while after, she leaeN^^V^etTfe- 


quest to the Father, with the same result. Bat finally, 
moved with pity, he said : '^ Depart, Obleseed eoul, to the 
eternal repose !" She said quickly, ^' Bless me, Father,'' and 
after receiving the usual benediction, she turned her eyes 
upon those around, as if bidding them &rewell, clasped and 
kissed the crucifix, and saying, with asmile, ^^ I am going," 
she expired. 

21. Beware of paying any attention to the wisdom, skill, or intel- 
ligence of a Superior ; if not. you wiU exchange diWne obedience 
for human ; toi you will be led to obey for the sake of the qualities 
you perceive in him, and not for the sake of God imperceptibly pres- 
ent in his person. Oh what great havoc the devil works in the hearts 
of Religious, when he succeeds in making them regard the qualifici- 
tions of Superiors.— iSif. John qf ths Oroai, 

Father Peter Faber never looked at the defects of a Su- 
perior, but always at his virtues, that he might honor 
him in truth. And if he met one full of faults and des- 
titue of virtues, he would still strive to honor and obey 
him faithfully, for the love and fear of God, and for his 
own perfection. 

St. John Berchmans saw God in his Superiors, and never 
their own qualities. This caused him to treat them always 
with great veneration, and he said that he had never the least 
dislike for any one of them. ^ 

32. When the Superior orders anything, consider that it is not he 
that speaks, but Qod, so that the Superior is but a trumpet through 
which the voice of God sounds. And this is the true key to obedi- 
ence, and the reason why the perfect obey in everything so promptly, 
and make no difference between one Superior and another, and sub- 
mit to the lowest in authority as well as to the highest, and to the im- 
perfect as well as to the perfect ; for they regard not the persons nor 
the qualities of Superiors, but God alone, yiho is always the same, 
of equal merit, and of equal authority. — Rodriguez. 

8L Aloysius Qonzaga md \X^t \v^ did not rem^nber 

JI7in5.«-<HND>nBVC& 813 

0v«r to hive diaobejed the slightett oider of a Saperior. 
He even showed aa much reverence and submuBioa to the 
beadle as to the Greneral himself. 

The blessed Solomea observed the orders, of Superiors 
with as much exactness as if they had been jpven bj God 
Himself; for this reason^ that he regarded them as origin- 
ating from Gk)d^ and only promulgated by the voice of the 

The venerable Mother Seraphina sometimes had confess- 
ors who possessed but little wisdom, yet she obeyed them 
with the same exactness as slie did the others ; and she often 
said that when they did not command anything sinful, it was 
always necessary to obey them, without seeking a reason for 
their orders. 

98. Do 700 know how it happens thai many who have livad long 
In religion, and practised daily so many acts of obedience, hare by no 
means succeeded in acquiring a habit of this virtue Y Because, not 
every time they obey, do they do it because such is the will of God 
(which is the forma] reason of obedience) ; but they obey, now for 
one cause, now for another, so that their actions, being destitute of 
mutual similarity, cannot unite to form a habit of this Tirtue.— 

St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi never regarded the person 
who was her Superior, or who gave her orders^ whoever 
she might be, but recognized in her the person of Ghxl ; nor 
did she obey for any other reason than because she believed 
it to be the will of God. She considered whatever was im- 
posed on her as ordered by divine authority^ and so she 
obeyed the cQok as willingly as the prioress, and expe- 
rit'nced equal joy and satisfaction in doing so. 

The same is narrated of the monks of Egypt, who per- 
formed promptly, without any discussion or objection, what- 
ever duty was laid upou them, as if the order had come 


directlj from Ghx!, whose will they were aocastomed to 
recognize in that of the Superior. 

24. If you ever mre conscious of impulses, ttioagfati» and Judg- 
ments opposed to obedience, though apparently good and holy, do 
not admit them on any account, but reject them promptly, as you 
would thoughts against chastity or faith.— iSf. John CUmaeuM, 

St. John Berchmans once had a philosophical thesis to 
defend^ on which he was only partly prepared, when he was 
called to join a brother who was going out. He felt inte- 
riorly a slight repugnance to leaving his work ; but without 
giving any outward sign of it, he turned his thoughts in 
another dii^ection. When he came home, he reflected 
seriously on the emotion he had felt, and for some days re- 
called it at his particular examen, and made it a subject of 
mature reflection. Finally, by the grace of God, he was 
able to tell his Superior that he had obtaineda victory over 
himself; and he was never again disturbed by any rq>ug- 

The Venerable Maria Seraphina had permission from her 
director, who was living in Naples, to communicate every 
day. But to avoid singularity, he advised her to ask per- 
mission each time from the ordinary director of C!aprL 
When he refused it, as often happened, she submitted, 
though with much grief. On one of these occasions, as 
she was hearing M iss, the Lord appeared to her aftier the 
consecration, and seemed to invite her to go to Communion, 
which enkindled in her heart a most vehement desire to do 
so. But she would not yield to it, as she was persuaded 
that there might be an illusion in r^ard to the vision, 
while there could be none as to the command of the con- 
fessor. - 

25. Beware of ezamiaiog and Judging the orders of Superiors, 


and considering Yihj such a thing was commanded, or whether an- 
other course would have been better. All this belongs not to the 
subject, but to the Superior.— >S^ Jerome. 

One very warm summer daj^ St. John Berchmans went 
out three or four times^ having been given, by the Superior, 
as a companioti to several Brothers in succession. His 
room-mate, feeling sorry for his evident suffering, advised 
him to use a little more discretion and prudence, for other- 
wise the intense heat would surely make him ill. But he 
answered with much gentleness : " Brother, I must leave 
prudence to him who gives me the orders. I am bound to 
nothing but obedience. '^ 

When the Bishop of Capri was going to celebrate Mass, 
one morning, at the convent of the venerable Mother Sera- 
phina, he sent her word that he did not wish to give Com- 
munion to the nuns at the usual grating, but at the altar, 
and that they must, therefore, all come into the church. 
The servant of God was then in her cell, and without stop- 
ping to consider how painful was such a direction on ac- 
count of the great irregularity it involved, she threw her- 
self on her knees before her crucifix, and kissed the ground ; 
then rising, she kissed the Lord's feet, saying affection- 
ately: "He was made obedient unto death.'' Without 
further delay, she left her cell, and went to beg of her Sis- 
ters to obey the order of the Prelate. Aft«r receiving Holy 
Communion, they all went into the choir to make their 
thanksgiving. There the Mother had an ecstasy, in which 
our Lord told Jier how much He had been pleased with this 
act of obedience. She told her companions of this when 
they were assembled at the general recreation. But when 
some dwelt on the repugnance they had felt, she said : 
** For me, the Lord gave me this morning a great reward 
for my blind obedience ; and though the action in itself 


may not have been good^ certainly the obedience 

26. It U not enough for obedience to do what Ib commanded. It 
must be done without debate, and must be looked upon as the bert 
and most perfect thing possible, though it may seem and oiaj evea 
be the contrary.— i6iS. Philip Neri. 

Father Alvarez was aocustomed to subject himsdf will- 
ingly to obedience in all things. For he said that he had 
noticed that even when it seemed desirable for him to do 
something contrary to what obedience required, yet by obe» 
dience he always succeeded best 

What did our Lord do to cure the blind man ? He 
anointed his eyes with clay, and told him to go and bathe 
in the pool of Siloe. This blind man might have said that 
this was a remedy better adapted to take uway sight than to 
restore it, and he might have objected to the journey. But 
as he obeyed without cavil, he was cured. 

St. Columbano the Abbot, having most of his monks 
sick, ordered them all to go to the bam and thrash the grain. 
It seemed a very hard and indiscreet thing to oblige men 
who were almost too weak to stand, to perform such labo- 
rious work, and to expose them to the rays of a scorching 
sun ; but they all went out to execute the order, except a few 
prudent and cautious ones, who thoi^ht it safer to remain 
in bed. But what was the result ? Those who blindly 
obeyed, were cured instantly, while the others who reasoned 
about the matter, remained sick of the fever for a whole 

The Blessed Virgin, appearing to a nun, told her that by 
means of obedience the ends of Divine Wisdom are accom- 
plished ; which, often by ways sublime and not penetrated 
by human prudeacCi moves on to the aims it seeks withoat 
any hindrance. 



9ff. Wh/cmwer wisbes to be a good Religious, mutt make bimitlf 
like tbe Mt of tbe monastery. Tbis aaimal does not cboose wbat 
burden belt to bear, nor go by tbe road be prefers, nor rest wben be 
likes, nor do wbat be wisbes ; but aooommodates bimself to all ibat 
iaobosenfor bim. He walks, be 8tot>8, be turns, be goes back, bff8u^ 
fersaadlaboisdayand olgbt, in all kinds of weatbnr, and bears wbat* 
e^er burden isputupon bim, wltbout saying. "Wby ?" or ** Wbat 
forr *' It is too mucb;" '* It is too littler' or tbe Uke. AbM Ifettenme. 

This holy Abbot^ as is told in the Lives of the Fathers, 
at his very entrance into religion^ made this beautiful reso- 
lution : I and the ass are one. I will consider myself to be 
the monastery ass. And so^ he became one of the best Bei ig- 

St Jdm Berohmans considered himself in the same light. 
Whatever was commanded him^ he never refused to do, 
nor excused himself, nor gave any sign of discontent or dis* 
couragement, but accepted all dieerfully, and executed it 
promptly and &ithfully. And so, when the Superiors 
were in perplexity as to assigning some difficult task, or 
finding a companion for a brother who was going out, 
he was ah^rays their resort. Thus, it sometimes happened 
that he had scarcely returned home with one, when he was 
appointed to go out with another ; and this might occur 
three or four times in one day. And with these compan- 
ions he would go back and forth, in one direction or another, 
stop anywhere and as long as they pleased, without object- 
ing, or complaining of the loss of time, or of not being as 
well treated as others ; for his only aim was to obey and 

But St Felix the Capuchin put on this character most 
completely of all, for he did it not only in his own mind, 
but by an avowal that others might have the same opinion 
of him ; and he even valued the title of ass. Sometimes, 
he was passing through a crowded street with baskets full 


of bread or wine^ when he would shout : '^ Make way for flie 
asB !" And if any one should say that he did not see any 
ass^ he would answer : ^^ Do you not know that I am tliue 
Capuchins' ass?'' As he was walkings one day^ in the 
city^ he fell down, by accident^ in the mud^ and not being 
able to rise^ he said to his companion : '^ Do you not see 
that the ass has &IleQ ? Why do you not put on the whip 
and make him rise ?" When any Religious called him by 
his own'name, he would often answer^ " You are mistaken, 
Father; my name is Brother Ass." Nor was all this a mere 
matter of words ; for the Superior could employ him at all 
^imes and places, precisely as if he had been an ass, and rive 
him whatever he pleased to do, without the risk of a word 
of excuse or the slightest sign of reluctance. 

38. Whoever lives under obedience, ought to allow himself to be 
ruled by Providence, through his Superior, like a dead man. It is a 
sign of death not to see, not to feel, not to answer, not to complain, 
not to show any preference, but to be moved and carried anywhere 
at the will of another. See how far your obedience falls short of 
this. — 8t. Ign. Loyola. 

A man of this type was St. Paul the Simple, a disci- 
ple of St. Anthony. He^ one day, asked his master whether 
Christ was before the Prophets ; upon which the Saint com- 
manded him not to speak, as he was able to talk nothing but 
nonsense ; and for three successive years the disciple observed 
perpetual silence. After that, St. Anthony, wishing to tiy 
his obedience still further, commanded him to do many ab- 
surd and useless things, such as drawing water from a well, 
and then pouring it out ; making garments, then ripping 
them to pieces ; and the like. St. Paul regarded all these 
things as necessary, at least because they were commanded, 
though they might be frivolous and of no account in them- 
selves. He performed them, therefore^ cheerfully, promptlyi 


and with all possible diligence^ without making the least 
reflection about them. 

The same spirit was shown by a certain disciple of the 
Abbot Martin^ who^ having a dry rod in his hand^ planted it 
in the ground^ and bade his disciple to water it until it blos- 
somed. The latter did this r^ularly for three years, going 
daily for water to the Nile, which was two miles distant ; 
and he never complained nor was discouraged by seeing that 
he had labored so long in vain. Finally, the Lord deigned 
to show how much this labor pleased Him, for the rod grew 
green and blossomed. This anecdote is related by Severus 
Sulpicius, who says that he had himself seen the tree, 
which was preserved up to his time, as a memorial, in the 
court of the monastery. 

On the day when St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi received 
the* habit, she prostrated herself humbly, and with true 
feeling, at the feet of her Mistress, and resigned herself 
wholly to her will, saying that she gave hei'self into her 
hands as if dead, and that, hereafter, she might do with lier 
whatever she pleased, for she would obey her in everything. 
She also entreated her not to show her any favor in regard 
to humiliations and mortifications. She made the same 
protestations to a second Mistress afterwards appointed to 
succeed the first. And she did, in fact, live thus wholly 
submissive to their will, obeying them promptly in every- 
thing, and allowing herself to be employed by them in 
whatever they wished, witliout ever contradicting or giv- 
ing any sign of disapproval, whatever they might say. In 
this manner, she succeeded so far in despoiling herself of 
her own will and judgment that she seemed no longer to 
have any, and they might be called dead in her. 

29, The perfection of a Religious consists in exact obedience to hia 


RuIm ; and who6T«r iflmotl faithful io their obterraooef will te, bf 
tbif fact alone, the most perfect.— JBotfyvtMi. 

St. Vincent de Paul was most exact in the practical ob- 
servance of all the rules of the Congregation, to sudi a 
degree that he scrupled to transgress even the smallest, 
such as that of kneeling on entering or leaving his ceU, 
though in the last years of his life this became very pain- 
tal to him, on account of a disease which had settled in his 
limbs. He was also usually the first to be present at the 
general exercises, particularly meditation. 

Father Joli, Superior of the Congregation of the Mission, 
was most exact himself in the observance of the Rules, and 
inflexible as to others, jrielding neither to reasons nor to 
entreaties, so &r as to permit the least want of observance. 
A Superior, having once written to him to ask a certain 
permission, this was his reply : '* Our Rule is opposed to 
this, and we ought to be most strongly attached to our 
Rule. This is the best of all reasons.'^ In a discourse to 
his Community, he said, one day : " We ought to regard as 
our chief duties, the Rules and holy practices of the Con- 
gr^ation, disregarding, to observe them, all our own par- 
ticular devotions. For example, we should consider it more 
meritorious not to speak without permission to persons of 
our acquaintance, whom we may meet in the house, than to 
take twenty disciplines of our own wiU.'^ 

St. Jane Frances de Chantal had the observance of her 
Rules so much at heart, and kept such strict watch over 
herself, that slie might not transgress the smallest, even 
when a Superior, and much advanced in years, that her 
practice served as a living and most efficacious rule, to 
rouse and incite all the others to a most perfect obeervanot. 
It happened once that she came into recreation from the 
murlor, much prostrated on account of her great age. Some 


oompanioiis b^ged her to rest for the short time that re- 
mained before the close of recreation. " But what shall 
we do/' she answered^ smiling^ ** with the Bule^ which re- 
quires us to work in recreation V* 

St Aloysias GK>nzaga was never seen to tran^ress the 
least rule of the Institute. He was so exact in this that he 
could not bring himself to give a companion half a sheet of 
paper^ or to receive any little picture that might be offered to 
him^ without first obtaining permission from the Supe- 
rior, as the Rule prescribed. 

One night the devil tormented a lay-brother in the Do- 
minican monastery at Bologna, with so much cruelty that 
the noise of blows and struggles aroused the Religious. 
When St. Dominic, who was there, commanded the demon 
to tell why this was, he answered, that it was because the 
brother had taken something to drink, on the previous even- 
ing, without permission, and without asking a blessing, as 
the Rule enjoined. 

St» Qr^ory relates that an evil spirit entered into a nun, 
and tormented her grievously, because she had eaten lettuce 
without asking a blessing, according to the requirement of 
the Rule. 

80. The predestination of Beligious is inseparably connected with 
love for their Rule, and the careful performance of the duties of 
their vocation.—^. F. de Sales. 

St Bona venture wrote these words in a note-book : I 
have come into religion to live not as others live, but to 
live as all ought to live, in the spirit of the Institute and 
fidl observance of the Rule ; for, at my entrance, the Rules 
were given me to read, and not the lives of others. The 
Rules were then accepted by me voluntarily and as the ba- 
ns of my life^ and therefore I ought to observe them all 


exactly^ although I ahoold see that no one else observed 

St. Francis de Sales gave high praise to a certain 
Creneral of the Carthusians, for his great r^ularity in the 
observance of his Rule ; for, he said, he was so exact even 
in things of the least importance, that he did not yield the 
palm even to the best novices. 

St. John Berchmans was so devoted to the observance 
of the Rules, that during all the time he lived in religion, 
no person ever saw him violate one of them. And so, when 
he came to die, he asked for the little book of his Rules, and 
clasping it in his hands, he said, ^^ With this I die will- 



Be timple m d0«M.— Matt, x : 16. 

1. Among those who make profession of following the maxims of 
Christ, simplicity ought to be held in great esteem ; for, among the 
wise of this world there is nothing more contemptible or despicable 
than this. Yet it is a virtue most worthy of loTe, because it leads 
us straight to the kingdom of God, and, at the same time, wins for 
us the affection of men ; since one who is regarded as upright, sin- 
cere, and an enemy to tricks and fraud, is loved by all, even by 
those who only seek from morning till night to cheat and deceive 
others.— iSt. F. de Paul. 

This Saint himself truly had great esteem for simplicity, 
and loved it much. Therefore, he not only kept himself 
fix)m any transgression against it, but could not suffer those 
under his authority to commit any. If at times they were 
guilty of doing so, he would be sure to correct them for it, 
though with great mildness. 

St. Francis de Sales, also, was full of respect and love 
for this virtue, as he once declared to a confidential friend, 
in these words : " I do not know what that poor virtue of 
prudence has done to me, that I find so much difficulty in 
loving it. And if I love it, it is only from necessity, inas- 
much as it is the support and guiding light of this life. 
But the beauty of simplicity completely fascinates me. It 
is true tiiat the Gospel recommends to us both the simplicity 
of the dove and the prudence of the serpent ; but I would 
give a hundred serpents for one dove. I know that l>oth 



are uaeful when they are united, but I think that it shonid 
be in the proportion observed in compounding some medi- 
cines, in which a little poison is mixed with a quantity of 
wholesome drugs. Let the world, then, be angry, — let the 
prudence of the world rage, and the flesh perish ; for it is 
always better to be good and &imple^ thau to be subtle and 

St. Phocas the Martyr was greatly to beadmired for his 
simplicity, according to what Surius relates. He culti- 
vated a little garden, less to provide food for himself, than 
to supply witii v^tables and fruit those travellers and 
pilgrims who had heard of his liberality, und stopi>ed at his 
house ; for no one ever knocked at his door, who was not 
received with great charity and courtesy. This holy man 
was denounced for aiding and abetting Christians, to the 
governor of the province, who, resolving upon his death, 
sent soldiers privately in search of him, with orders to kill 
him. They arrived, one evening, at his house, not knowing 
that it was his. entered it, and, with the u»ual freedom of 
soldiery^ demanded food. According to his custom, he re- 
ceived them willingly and kindly, and gave them what lit- 
tle he had. He served them, too, at table, with so much char- 
ity and courtesy that they were delighted and captivated, 
and said between themselves that they had never met sudi 
a good-hearted man. And so, they were led by his great 
simplicity and candor to ask him with confidence, whether 
he knew anything of a certain Phocas, who helped and 
harbored Christians, and upon whose death the imperial 
prefect had resolved. The Saint replied that he knew him 
very well, and that he would willingly point him oat 
to them, so that they might go to rest quietly, without 
further inquiry, for on the next day he would show them 
an easy way of capturing hiiUt He then spent the wholo 

JULY.— eiMPiJoirr. 225 

Vnglit in fervent prayer, and, when it was daj, he went to 
irimt the soldiers, and bid them good morning, with his 
^Qsual cordialily. They answered by reminding him of his 
promise to deliver up Phocas, whom they were seeking. 
^ Do not doubt," he returned, " that I will find him for 
you* Consider that you have him already in your hands." 
'^ Let us go, then, and take him," they answered. " There 
is no need of going," he replied, ^' for he is here present. 
I am he. Do with me what you please." At these words, 
the soldiers were amazed and stupefied, both on account 
of the great charity with which he had welcomed them, 
and of the ingenuous sincerity with which he revealed him- 
self to his persecutors, when he could so easily have escaped 
death by fleeing in the night They gazed at each other 
in amazement, and neither of them dared to lay hands on 
one who had been so kind to them. They were more in- 
' dined to give him his life, and to report to the prefect that 
' after long search they had not been able to discover Phocas. 
" No," said the Saint, " my death would be a less evil than 
- to concoct such a fiction, and tell such a fidsehood. Exe- 
• cute, then, the order you have received." So saying, he bared 
his neck, and extended it to the soldiers, who severed it 
with one stroke, and gave him the glorious crown of mar- 
tyrdom. This most candid fidelity was so agreeable to 
God that He inmiediately b^an, and still continues, to sig- 
nalize it by illustrious miracles, especially in favor of pil- 
grims and sailors, to whom, in death as in life, the Saint 
has been most liberal of benefits and miraculous helps. In 
recognition of this, a custom came into use among travellers 
by sea, of serving to him every day at meals a part of the 
first dish, which was called the portion of St. Phocas. 
This was each day bought by one or other of the vojragers, 
and the price depodted in the hanids oi tbe OB0gka^\ vu^. 


when they came into port^ the money was distributed amimg 
the poor, in thanksgiving to their bene&ctor for thdrsno* 
oessful voyage. 

8. Simplicity is nothing but an act of charity pure and simple, 
which has but one sole end, that of gaining the love of Gk)d. Our 
soul is then truly simple, when we have no aim at allbut this, in 
all we do.-St. F, de 8dU$. 

St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi once said : '^ If I thong^ 
that by saying a word, however in^JPerent, for any other end 
than the love of God^ I could become a Seraph^ I oertainly 
would not say it." 

The devil, envying a young monk who was making good 
progress, appeared, one night, to his Master of Novices, un- 
der the form of a good angel, and informed him that his 
disciple was already reprobated, and that whatever good he 
did was of no use to him. The Master of Novices was 
much grieved at this, and could not refrain from tears when- 
ever he met the young man, who, one day, asked him the rea- 
son of his grief. When he told it, the novice said: 
'^ Father, do not grieve for this. If I am to be damned, 
I shall be damned ; if I am to be saved, I shall be saved. 
I serve God not for the kingdom of heaven, but for His U 
goodness and love towards me, and for the Passion He has h 
suffered for me. If, then. He chooses to give me His Para- yi 
dise. He can do it ; and if He wishes to give me hell, he can ^ 
indeed do it : I am content that He should do with me what 
pleases Him.'^ The following night, a true angel appeared 
to the Master of Novices, and told him the one he had pre- 
viously seen was a devil, and that his disciple had merited 
more by his act of resignation, than by all the good life be 
had hitherto led. 

3. The ofllce of simplicity is to make us go straight to Ckxi, withoat 



rq^ftrd to human respect or our own interests. It leads us to tell 
Hiings candidly, and just as they exist in our hearts. It leads us to 
ict simply, without admixture of hypocrisy and artifice, and, finally, 
keeps us at a distance from every kind of deceit and double-dealing. 

This Saint always held it as of the utmost importance to 
have Grod as his only object in all he did ; neither could he 
bear that those under his charge should swerve in the least 
from this aim. When one of them was publicly accused of 
having done something from human respect, he repri- 
manded him severely, saying that it would be better to be 
thrown into the fire with feet and hands tied, than to work 
to please men. Answering a letter from one of his priests, 
he writes thus : " You write to me that when you speak 
highly of a certain person in your letters, it would be well 
for his friends to know it, that he may come to know it too. 
What thoughts for you to have ! where is the simplicity of 
a missionary, who ought always look directly to Grod ? If 
jrou do not see good in certain persons, do not speak of it ; 
but if you find it, speak of it to honor God in them, since 
from Him all good proceeds. Our Lord reproved one who 
sailed Him good, because he did not call Him so with a good 
intention. With how much greater reason might you be 
[>lamed, if you praise sinful men to please them, and to gain 
their fevor, or for any other earthly and imperfect motive ? 
Remember that duplicity does not please God, and that to be 
fcruly simple, we ought to liave no aim but Himself." As to 
tiia own language, it was candid and simple, and so far from 
stU evasion and craftiness, that no one could ever fear being 
deceived by him. He also avoided high-flown compliments, 
wliich, as they are usually united with dissimulation, are not 
in conformity with the rules of Christian simplicity. There- 
fore, he conversed with all simply and cordially, omitting 


uaeleas demonstrations^ as he desired also that his priests 
should do. 

The venerable Sister Cracifixa possessed most remarkable 
candor and sincerity; by which she showed her hatred of 
all dissimulation and duplicity. The slightest untruth 
never escaped from her lips^ either in the way of dvilily at 
of jest; although at recreation she would often employ 
irony; or other diverting forms of expression^ to enUvai 
the conversation. 

St. Charles Borromeo showed plainly tiiat he was full of 
this holy virtue; on several occasions; especially in the elec- 
tion of Pius V as Pope. As his undc; Pius IV, had al- 
ways disliked St. Charles, there was every reason to believe 
that the nephew would be opposed; or at least not very 
friendly; to him; so that he might be taxed with want of pru- 
dence in giving power that would be likely to be used for 
his own ruin. Nevertheless; having before his eyes only 
the glory of Otod and the greater good of the Church, and 
paying no r^rd to his private interests; he brought about 
his election. But God took care of him; and caused him to 
be much favored and esteemed by Pius V. In his speech; 
St. Charles was extremely candid; and utterly opposed to 
all artifice and duplicity; and he wished those of his house- 
hold to be the same, as he once said to one of them; who; in 
talking of a certain afiair; allowed these words to escape him : 
" I will tell you sincerely what I think about it." The Saint 
interrupted him quickly, sajring : " Then you do not always 
speak sincerely I NoW; be sure that he cannot be my friend; 
who does not speak always with sincerity, and say with his 
lips what he means in his heart'^ 

4. Ood loYes the simple, and converses with them willingly, and 
communicates to them the understanding of His truths, beoame He 
dispoees of these at his pleasure. He doea not deal thus wUh lofl| 
and iubde spiriu.— d(. F, d$ 8ak$ 

jTOiY.— eniFLiciTY, 229 

St Yinoent de Paul was of the aame opmion, the tratk 
of which, he said, experience daily confinns ; for it is but 
too clear that the spirit of religion is not oidinarilj to be 
fi>imd so much among thje wise and prudent of the world, 
as among the poor and simple, who are enriched by Qod 
with a livisq; and practical fidth, which makes them believe 
and appreciate the words of eternal life. So they are usu- 
ally seen to suffer their diseases, their poverty, and all 
their trials, with more patience and r^ignation than others. 

St. Ambrose, in the ftmeral oration which he pronounced 
over his brother, St. Satirus, greatly exalts among his other 
virtues his childlike simplicity, " which,'^ he says, ^^ shone 
in him like a mirror, so that he could not have fidled to 
please QoA ; for He, as a completely simple being, loves 
what is simple, and hates and punishes all adulteration.^' 

It is related, in r^ard to St. Gtertrude^ that the Lord once 
appeared to a holy soul, and said : ^^ Know that there is 
not a soul in the world which is nearer and more closely 
nnited to Me by simplicity, than that of (Gertrude, and so 
there is none to which I feel Myself so much drawn as to 

5. Tnie drnplidty it like that of children, who think, speak, and 
act candidly and without craftiness. They believe whatever is told 
Ibem ; they have no care or thought for themselves, especially when 
with their parents ; they cling to them, without going to seek their 
own ntisfactions and consolations, which they take in good faith, 
and enjoy with simplicity, without any curiosity about their causes 
and effecto.— i6». F, de 8aU$. 

QL Mary Magdalen di Pazzi resembled in her behavior 
a simple girl, acting without craftiness, and with great candor 
and simplicity of heart, accompanied, however, with prudence 
and such gravity as made her loved and respected by all. 

The veneiable Sister Maria Crucifixa was truly lemaxk^ 


able for this virtue. Though gifted with heavenly illumi- 
nation^ she appeared preciselj like a simple little girl, with- 
out a vestige of artfulness. She told everything candidly 
and as it seemed to her^ and she thought others did the 
same ; for she could not believe that a Christian would be 
capable of telling lies. Some examples will show this more 

On account of the opinion generally entertained of her 
sanctity^ a great number of letters came to her fix)m many 
places. She believed that this was owing to the high stand- 
ing of the convent^ and that her companions received as 
many ; but she was much surprised to notice that they were 
not kept as busy in writing answers as she was. To satisfy 
herself about the matter^ she went around asking them if 
they received many letters ; and they^ to favor her simplicity, 
answered, with polite exaggeration, that they received ever 
so many. " Why, then, do you not write ?" she replied. " I 
will bring you the ink-stand so that you can answer them." 
She went for the ink-stand and a pen, and gave them to 
her companions ; but seeing that they could not restrain thar 
laughter, she was unable to understand what the joke wis, 
and remained much puzzled. 

Having received from Cardinal Tommasi, her brother, 
who often wrote to her, a letter in which he signed himself 
*^ a wretch,'^ according to the frequent custom of the time, 
she would answer neither that one, nor many others that he 
afterwards wrote. Being asked the reason, she replied that 
she did not wish to keep up a correspondence with wretches ; 
and it required no little trouble to induce her to write. 

But in another pretty incident the Lord was pleased to 
show how acceptable to Him was her simplicity. A lin- 
net was given to her, which she named Fiorisco. She 
loved it very much, not only for its beautiftil voice^ bat 


for the virtaes which she said were shown in its actions. 
It happened once that she wished to pull out two of its 
feathers, to make a little pen to draw a certain design for 
an approaching Festival. She thought the linnet was 
rather unwilling to give them to her, and she was somewhat 
disedified hy his want of devotion. A short time after, a 
young canary, taking his first flight, rested on the cage of 
the linnet, which held him by one of his feet with his 
beak, and b^n to pull out his feathers with his claws. 
Seeing what was going on, she hurried to the rescue, and 
exclaimed, " Ah, Fiorisco ! we are growing worse and 
worse ! Is this the way to observe charity ?" Then turn- 
ing to the image of the Virgin, she protested that in this 
bird she loved nothing except God, but that he had done 
very wrong that day, and she wished that he might be 
suitably punished. At these words, the linnet, as if he 
foresaw the coming punishment, stopped singing, and spent 
the rest of the day in a melancholy manner in a comer of the 
cage, with his feathers ruffled u{). When evening came, a 
noise was heard from the cage, where poor Fiorisco was 
struggling grievously, with mournful cries. The servant 
of God hastened to the scene, and saw the devil, in the 
form of an ugly crow, attacking her bird. Crying aloud 
** Sonata Maria" she put him to flight ; but she found 
that her linnet had lost a wing, which had been torn off at 
the shoulder, and fell on the ground before her eyes ; and 
the injured bird seemed on the point of drawing his last 
breath. She was grieved at the sight, and prayed to the 
Lord, asking, as He did not desire the death of a sinner, but 
his conversion and life, that He would grant that her Fio- 
risco, though he had been punished, might not die. Nor 
was the prayer in vain ; for, after she had taken the bird in 
h^ hand^ and ct^res^ it a little, it suddenly recoveired itei 


lUHiat strengtih; and appeared with a new wingi folly pro- 
vided with bones and flesh and skin, iu nothing diffiovent 
from the first, exoept that the feathers were handsomer. 

6. Afltutenefls is nothing but a mass of artifloes, inventions^ craft, 
and deceit, by which we endeavor to mislead the minds of those with 
whom we are dealing, and make them believe that we have no 
knowledge or sentiment as to the matter in qi^estion, except what we 
manifest by our words. This is wholly contrary to simplicity, 
which requires our exterior to be perfectly in conformity with our 
interior.—^. F, de Sales, 

When this good Saint was told, by a fiiend of his, that he 
would have been succe&^ful in politics, '^ No,'' he replied, 
'' the mere name of prudence and poUcy fiightens me, and 
I understand little or nothing about it. I do not know how 
to lie, to invent, or dissimulate, without embarrassment, and 
political business is wholly made up of these things. What 
I have in my heart, I have upon my tongue ; and I hate 
duplicity like death, for I know how abominable it is to 

St. Vincent de Paul, too, was utterly opposed to worldly 
policy, and in his dealings with others, was most carefiil to 
avoid all evasions and artifices. The very shadow of 
fiiLsehood affrighted him, and he had a horror of equivoca- 
tions, which deceive an inquirer by answers of double 

7. When a simple soul is to act, it considers only what it is suit- 
able to do or say, and then immediately begins the action, without 
losing time in thinking what others wlU do or say about it. And 
after doing what seemed right, it dismisses the subject ; or if, per- 
haps, aDy thought of what others may say or do should arise, it in- 
atantly cuts short such reflections, for it has no other aim than to please 
Ood, and not creatures, except as the love of God requires it. There- 
fore, it cannot bear to be turned aside from its purpose of keeping close 
to God, and winning more and more of his love for itself .~j8f. K 


This holy Bishop having gone one evening to the Certosa 
at Orenoble, the General of the Carthusians, who was n man 
of great learning and piety, received him very courteously. 
After talking with him, in his room, for some time, on spirit- 
ual subjects, he took leave of him, excusing himself for not 
remaining longer, on the ground that it was the Festival of 
a Saint of the Order, and he must assist at Matins that 
night. In passing through the corridors to his cell, he hap- 
pened to meet the procurator, who, hearing of the visit, said 
that he had done wrong to leave the Bishop, as no one 
could entertain him better than himself; that as to Matins, 
he could say them whenever he wished, but it was not every 
day that they had prelates of such great merit in that des- 
ert. " I believe you are right,^' replied the Greneral. He 
immediately went back to the Saint, related to him, with 
great ingenuousness, what had just been said to him, and 
asked pardon for the fiiult which he had committed, as he 
said, without intending to. The Saint was astonished at 
such great candor and simplicity, and said that he was more 
mmaased at it than if he had seen a miracle. 

8. The chief point is to beware not of men, but to beware of dis- 
pleaeing the majesty of God.— /St. Teresa. 

This Saint once said that she used every effort to perform 
every one of her actions in such a manner as not to dis- 
please Him whom she clearly beheld always overlooking 

St. Vincent de Paul said, one day, that from the time he 
had given himself to the service of God, he had never done 
anything which he would not have been willing to do in 
the public squares ; for he performed every action with a 
vivid recollection of the presence of God, whom he feared 
Bore than men* 


9. When one thinks he hat done all that Ood requires of him tat 
the success of any undertaking, whether the result be good or bad, 
he ought always to remain in peace and great tranquUli^ of mind, 
contenting himself with the testimony of his own coosdeaoe.— «S(. 

When St Ignatiiis had done what heoould to repair any 
mistake that had been made^ if he did not aocoeed, he 
neither lost coorage nor grieved over the time as wasted ; 
but content with having exerted all his powers, he rested 
in the unfitthomable counsel of Providence. 

10. If you happen to say or do something that is not well reoeifed 
by all, you should not, on that account, set yourself to eramlne and 
scrutinize all your words and actions ; for there is no doubt thit 
it is self-love which makes us anxious to know whether what we 
have said or done is approved or not. Simplicity does not run af- 
ter its actions, but leaves the result of them to Divine ProTidence, 
which it follows above all things, turning neither to the ri^t nor to 
the left, but simply going on its way.— /St. F, de 8ale$. 

This Saint himself acted in this manner, for he never 
sought to know whether his words or actions were accept- 
able to others or not. When it was reported to him that a 
certain action of his had been disapproved by some perscms, 
he answered, without any discomposure : '^ That is not to be 
wondered at, for not even the works of Christ our Lord 
were approved by all ; and there are many, even at this day, 
who speak blasphemously of tliem/' 

11. Do not reason about afflictions and contradictions, but receive 
them with patience and sweetness, feeling that it is enough to know 
that they come from the hand of God.— <8^. F, do 8ale$, 

It is told in the Life of a servant of Grod at Naples, 
called Sister Maria di Sandiago, that, one day, when she was 
reflecting upon a trial which she was suffering, she heard 
these words &om an interior voice : ^^ Do you sajr that you 


trust in Me^ and yet debate witl^ yourself so much upon 
this T' She then understood that she ought to receive a 
trial with simple resignation^ and not reflect upon it further ; 
and changing her previous habit^ she did so^ and continued 
to do so for the future, with great profit and contentment. 
However great were the trials and adversities of St. 
Vincent de Paul, he was never disturbed, neither did he 
show, or even feel, anger against any one ; for he took all 
from the hands of God without discussion. 

12. These continual reflections upon ourselves and our actions, 
are of no use except to consume time, which would be better em- 
ployed in doing, than in scrutinizing so carefully what has been 
done. For this constant watching as to whether we are doing well, 
often causes things to be done bndly. Those souls which make re- 
flections about trifles, act like silk-worms, which impede and im- 
prison themselves in their own work.— iSS^. F. de 8alea. 

A nun having sent to this Saint an account of her inte- 
rior, he wrote thus in answer : " Your path is excellent ; I 
have only to .say that you watch your steps too closely, 
through fear of falling. You make too many reflections 
upon the movements of your self-love, which doubtless are 
frequent, but which will never be dangerous, if, without 
being vexed at their importunity, or frightened at their 
numbers, you will say * No.^ Walk simply, do not desire 
so much spiritual rest. If you have not much, why do you 
disturb yourself so greatly? God is good. He sees what 
you are. Your inclinations can do you no harm, however 
bad they may be ; for they are only left you to exercise 
your will in making a closer union with the will of God. 
Baise your spirit aloft with perfect confidence in the good- 
ness of the Lord. Do not be troubled about Him, for He 
said to Martha that He did not wish it, or, at least, that He 
preferred she should not be troubled at all, not even in do- 


ing welL Do not examine your soul so mncli as io Hb pro* 
grees. Do not wish to be too perfect, but go on tonoollily. 
Let your ordinary exercises and the actions you have to 
perform from day to day, make up your life. Do not 
take thought for the morrow. As to your eouFBe, God, 
who has guided it until now, will guide it to the end. 
Best in perfect peace in the holy and loving ocmfidenoe 
which you ought to have in the kindness of Divine Provi- 

A young monk^ very desirous of perfection, set his heart 
upon purifying hunself from eveiy &ult, and therefore 
kept his eyes upon all his actions, looking at them again 
and again, before and after their performance, and while 
they were going on, — ^to do them well, and to see whether 
they had been well done. Therefore^ the more he nought 
to avoid faults, the more he committed them ; and by guard- 
ing himself from slight defects, he fell into grave ones. In 
this way, he only filled his soul with fear and disquid;, to 
very little advantage. Finally, he went to an old and veiy 
spiritual monk to ask his advice. This holy man merely 
suggested to him gently those twoo >unsel8 of the Holy Spirit: 
^^ ItH, in mansudiuUneaervaanimamtuam; in mansududine 
profioe opera tua — ^ELave a heart full of peace and confidence 
in God, and work tranquilly, without so many reflections, 
80 you will accomplish your design.'' He took this ad- 
vice and b^an to follow it, and by this new method of pro- 
ceeding, he quickly r^ained peace, and in a short time made 
progress in perfection. 

18. When one af nu at pleasing his God througb low, as bis mind 
is always turned in that direction in which love urges him, he bu 
neither heart nor opportunity to reflect upon himself, and to see 
what he is doing, and whether he is satisfied with it. For such re- 
flections are not pleasing in the eyes of God, and only serve to sat- 

JULY.— sniPLicmr. 337 

laiy that WMtchad love ima iaordinale care that we hair# fo? p^r. 
selvee. This telf-love, it must be said* is a great busf •body, whlcli 
takes up everjrthing and holds to nothing.— i8S(. F. ds 8aU$, 

This appears very plainly from what St Catherine of 
Genoa relates of herself. '^ Scarcely/' said she, ^^ had my 
Divine Love taken possession of my soul, when I entreated 
Him to purify it from eveiy interior and exterior unper- 
feotion* This He immediately b^an to do, but with such 
exactness and so minutely, that, to my amazement. He 
caused me to look upon things as wrong and imperfect, 
which every one would have considered right and perfect. 
Oh my Grod ! in everything He fi >und defects, and in eveiy 
action something to blame. If I spoke of the interior 
emotions I experienced in my heart. He ^d : ' This talk 
aims at your own consolation.' If I was silent, and remained 
grieving and lamenting interiorly,-' Ah, this grief and 
lamentation serves to give you some refreshment !' If I 
turned my thoughts upon the course things were taking, — 
* All these reflections only serve to satisfy self-love/ If I 
remained like an insensible thing, and only paid attention 
when things like what I felt in my own mind, were spoken 
of, — * And is not this desire te listen, a form of seeking 
self-gratification?' When the inferior part of my soul thus 
beheld itself revealed, and perceived that it could not deny 
these imperfections, it finally owned itself to be conquered. 
Then the superior part b^an to experience an unspeakable 
peace, seeing that the inferior lay prostrate and could do no 
harm, and that it would itself reap all the advantage. But 
here again my Holy Love found something to reprove, and 
said, ' What do you think to do ? I desire all for Myself. 
Do not imagine that I will leave thee a single good of body 
or of soul, or that I will ever rest until I have annihilated 
in thee all that cannot abide in the Divine presence^ and 


huve fully r^ealed and utterly subdued these tibh^ 
to MyselC And so, not knowing what to say or do m 
view of His clear-sightedness, I gave myself wholly into 
His hands, that He might strip me of all that was not pleas- 
ing to His most penetrating eyes. Then I saw that Pan 
Love wishes to be alone ; where It abides, It cannot bear 
oompany ; and therefore when It wishes to draw a soul U 
perfection, It marks as enemies all things beloved by it^ and 
intends to consume them without compassion for soul or 
body, and if permitted, would take them all away at once. 
But seeing the weakness of man, which could not support 
ift> great and so sudden a work. He cuts them off little by 
little, by which the soul constantly knows more and more of 
the operation of God, and is every day enkindled with CnA 
flames of His love, so that this divine fire is insensibly con- 
suming her desires and imperfect loves, until she remains 
stripped of every other love, and entirely possessed by the 
pure love of God/^ 

14. Tbatjpre may not be deceived by aelMove, ia condderlnf mil- 
ten that concern us, we ought to look at them as if they belonged to 
others, and our only business with them was to give our Judgment, 
not from interest, but in the cause of truth ; and in the same way we 
should look on others* affairs as our own.— iSf. Ign, Lajfola, 

Seleucus, Eling of the Locrians, acted on this principle, 
when, after his son had committed a crime which by the 
laws of the kingdom was punishable by the loss of both 
eyes, he immediately condemned him, as if he had been an 
ordinary subject Nor can this be considered an act of 
thoughtlessness or cruelty, or a proof that Seleucus had lost 
the feelings of a &ther ; for he showed his sensibility to his 
son's unhappy condition by his readiness to share the pen- 
alty with him, commanding that one of his own eyes should 
be put out, and one of his son's. 


In the Lives of the Fathers it is narrated, that a person 
ftsked a holy abbot how he ought to act, when, in regulating 
the conduct or affairs of others, he was in doubt whether he 
should say or do certain things. The Saint replied : " Be- 
fore saying or doing those things, reflect as to what your 
own feelings would be, if some one else should say or do 
them to you. And if you find that you would feel displeas- 
ure or resentment, use that same moderation and charity 
which you would desire to have practised towards you. In 
such cases this is my rule.^^ 

It was the usual custom of St. Vincent de Paul to regard 
his own interests as if they belonged to others, and those of 
others as his own, as may be seen in various incidents 
of his life. It will be sufficient to mention two. Some of 
his relatives, who had been summoned before a high tribu- 
nal on a grave chaise, asked him for letters which might 
exert an influence in their favor. But he, through zeal for 
justice, would not interfere in the matter. On the other 
hand, when some of his friends wished to interceed with the 
judges on their behalf, he entreated them not to expose 
themselves to the danger of hindering the course of justice, 
but rather to wait until their Innocence was made certain, 
just as he would have done in any other similar case. In 
the conferences which he had with members of his Congre- 
gation, when any business affecting others was under con- 
sideration, he would often say : " Let us keep our eyes 
open to others^ interests as to our own, and let us take care 
to deal uprightly and honorably with all.'* Here surely 
was a man who did not allow himself to be carried away 
by natural inclinations, either in his own affairs or those of 
others I 

15. The diflsatisfaction we often feel when we have passed a 
great part of the day without being retired and absorbed in Ood, 


thongh we have been employed in works of obedience or duoity, 
proceeds from a very sabtle selMove, which disguiset and hides iv 
self. For it is a wish on our part to please oorsdves rather than God. 
-^. Teresa. 

When we consider how many and how important wen I 
the oocupations of St. Vincent de Pauly on account of hii 
office of Superior Greneral of his Congr^tion, the positioi 
of counsellor which he was constrained to accept in the cour^ 
the continual works of charity in which he voluntarily en- 
gaged, the numbers of people who resorted to him, some for 
advice, some for direction, some for help and relief, so thst 
he was constantly engaged, continually absorbed, and almost 
overwhelmed by these various avocations, — it seems that he 
could have had no time to think of himself, and we wonder 
how he found any, as he did, to perform his ordinary exer- 
cises of piety. And yet, we do not read that he ever com- 
plained of not being able to remain retired and absorbed in 
Gk)d, although he certainly desired it as much as any one. 
Nor can any reason be assigned for this, except that all his 
care was to please God, and not himself. 

Father Alvarez, once finding himself overwhelmed with 
a multitude of occupations, complained lovingly to Grod, 
that he had no time to converse with Him intimately. 
Then he heard this reply in his heart : ^^ Let it be enough 
for thee that I make use of thy work, though I do not keep 
thee with Me.^^ With this he remained happy and con- 

16. What a great benefit it would be to us if God would plant in 
our hearts a holy aversion to our own satisfaction, to which nature 
attaches us so strongly that we desire that others would adapt them- 
selves to us, and all succeed well with us. Let us ask Him to teach 
us to place all our happiness in Him, to love all that He lovea, and 
to be pleased only with what pleases Him.— ^SX. F. de FatU, 

8t. Dorotheus, tho\ig\i \i<^ ^^ ^ is^^ of much learning 


and pradenoe^ confessed that in all matters not of a moral 
nature^ he willingly followed the opitiion of others, though 
it might often seem to him ill-judged ; nor did he ever dis- 
cuss in his mind circumstances over which he had no con- 
trol; but, after doing his part, he left the event to Grod,and 
was contented with any result. For he did not seek to 
have things arranged according to his desire, but he wished 
them to be as they were, and not otherwise. 

A young monk asked one old in religion, why chariiy 
was not as perfect as in earlier times. '^ Because," re- 
plied the latter, '^ the ancient Fathers looked upward, and 
their hearts followed their eyes ; but now all bend towards 
the earth, and seek only their own advantage." 

17. With those who are perfect and walk with simplicity, there is 
nothiofc small and contemptible, if it be a thing that pleases Ood ; 
for the pleasure of God is the object at which alone they aim, and 
which is the reason, tbe measure, and the reward of all their occu- 
pations, actions, and plans ; and so, in whatever they find this, it is for 
them a great and important thing, —Bodriguet, 

This is the reason why St. Aloysius Gonzaga, St. John 
Berchmans, St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi, and so many 
others, were so observant even of the least Rule, so exact 
in all their ordinary occupations, and so careful to perform 
well every work trusted to them, however trifling it might 

It is stated that the celebrated Father Bibera kept up 
through his whole life the same exact observance which 
marked his novitiate. 

18. When any one has to choose a state of life, and wishes to know 
what he should do for the good of his soul, let him first strip him- 
self of every inclination of his own, and place himself generously la 
the hands of God, equally ready for whatever HaihAi^ c»2\\Ar^Na« 
thm Jet him apply aome Gospel-trutha U> Uie ini!l\«t» ^xtti"^ toiR^ 


tbem their legitimate consequeDce, and see how they relate to the 
ultimate end for which Qod has created us. If he still remaina un- 
certain, let him imagine himself on his death- bed, or before the judg- 
ment-seat, which will teach him to do what he wiU then wish he 
had done.— iS^. Ign, Loyola, 

St. Vincent de Paul was once obliged to send a man of 
business to Tunis^ on account of a commission entrusted to 
him. He fixed upon a lawyer of high standing, and wrote 
to liim, explaining the advantages and disadvantages of the 
position, and leaving liim to decide whether he wonld ac- 
cept it. The lawyer answered the letter in person, told his 
objections, and begged St. Vincent to manifest to him the 
will of God. The Saint preferred that he should take the 
advice of some other person ; but as the lawyer insisted that lie 
wished for no opinion but his, St. Vincent asked for a short 
delay. The day after, he gave this answer : " I offered your 
difficulties to God in the Mass, and after the Consecration I 
threw myself at His feet, praying Him to enlighten 
me. After this I considered attentively how I should wish 
to have advised you, if I were at the point of death ; and 
it seemed to me that if I were about to die, I should be 
glad to have told you to go, and sorry to have dissuaded 
you from going. Such is my sincere opinion ; but for all 
this, you can go or stay.'' The lawyer was much edified by 
such detachment. 

A. pious lady, being asked by a poor man for some cloth- 
ing, ordered her servant to bring him a shirt. When she 
brought one that was coarse and torn, she told her to find 
a better one, adding that it would cause her much sbame 
if Christ, on the day of judgment, should show that shirt to 
all the world. 

19. There is a kiud of simplicity that causes a person to close his 
eyes to all the sentiments of nature* and to human considerationi, iftd 


Ht them iaterlorly upon the holy maxims of the Faith, that he may 
guide bimaelf in every work by their means, in such a way that in 
all his actions, words, thoughts, interests, and vicissitudes, at all 
times and in all places, he may always recur to them, and do noth- 
ing except by them and according to them. This is an admirable 
simplicity.— iS^. F. de Fata. 

Here tliis Saint^ without perceiving it, described to the life 
his own simplicity, which may even be called his special 

20. In human life prudence is indeed necessary, that we may be 
circumspect in our actions, and know how to adapt ourselves to 
the dispositions of others.— i9<. F. de Paul, 

By this virtue, the same Saint regulated his actions so well 
that he succeeded in every undertaking, and therefore gained 
such a reputation for priideace that he was commonly consid- 
ered one of the wisest men of his time. As a result, persons 
o^every condition and state, even those most conspicuous for 
rank or learning, had recourse to him as to an oracle, in all 
affiurs of importance, for direction and advice. 

St. Jane Frances de Chantal was so remarkable for tliis 
virtue, that many celebrated Bishops r^ulated their dioceses, 
and many also their own consciences, by her wise counsels. 
Even St. Francis de Sales, her beloved spiritual &ther, 
and St Vincent de Paul, her director after him, consulted 
with her upon their most important business, and depended 
much upon her wise decisions. 

31. Prudence is of two sorts,^human and Christian. Human pru- 
dence, which is also called the prudence of the flesh and of the 
world, is that which has no other aim than what is temporal, thinks 
only of aniving at its end, and makes use of such methods and sen- 
timents alone as are human and uncertain. Christian prudence con- 
sists in Judgini;, speaking, and acting that way in which the Eternal 
Wisdom, clothed In our flesh, judged, spoke, and acted, and inguid- 
iDg ourselves in all casesaccording to the maxima of the Faith, never 


•eoordliig to the fallacious aentimenta of the world, or the Mtik 
light of our own intellect—^. F. ds Bml. 

St Francis de Sales was a swoni enemy to hmnan pni- 
denoe, as he declared to one of his penitents^ writing to her 
in these terms : '^ If I could be bom over again with the 
sentiments that I have now, I do not believe that any one 
oould make me waver in the certainty which I feel, that the 
pradence of the flesh and of the sons of this world^ is bata 
mere chimera, and a most certain folly.'' 

St Vincent de Paul never used any but the Christian 
kind of prudence, so that it is no wonder that he was con- 
sidered to have a rare and solid wisdom. Though his in- 
tellect was keen and dear enough to penetrate things to the 
bottom, and discover all their relations, yet he never 
trusted to his own light, till he had compared it and found 
it to agree with the maxims taught us by our Savior, whidi 
are the only rule by which to form a sure and certain judg- 
ment. So he never b^an to do anything of importance, 
or gave answei's or advice to others, without first turning 
his eyes upon Jesus Christ, to find some act or word of His 
upon which he might securely rest the decision he was about 
to make. Having collected a company of priests outside of 
his Congr^tion, who were culled the Ecclesiastics of the 
Conference, and who were accustomed to give Missions in 
the country under his direction, he was asked that they 
might give one in a section of Paris. The Saint saw no diffi« 
culty in this ; but they saw much, and told him that in sudi 
a place a very different sort of Mission would be required 
from those they had been giving in the country, for the 
simple and fitmiliar discourses which had succeeded so well 
there, would fiimish little but subjects of ridicule among 
more cultivated people. But he, who was littie accustomed 
to trust to means purely natural^ answered that he felt sure 

juLY.-HBDCPLicmr. 246 

thejr ought to use the same method they had employed else- 
where^ and that the spirit of the world^ so triumphant in 
that quarter of Paris^ could not be better conquered than by 
attacking it with the spirit of Jesus Christ, which is a spirit 
of simplioity. He added that to enter into the sentiments 
of this Divine Savior, they ought to seek not their own glory, 
but that of the Eternal Father ; that, in imitation of the Re- 
deemer, they ought to be ready to suffer contempt, and to 
bear, if it were the will of God, opposition and persecution ; 
that, remembering the words of the Son ofGrod, they might at 
least be sure that Jesus Christ would speak by them, and 
that so good and holy a disposition as he had described, 
would make them fit to serve as instruments of His mercy, 
which penetrates the most hardened hearts, and converts the 
most rebellious s[>irits. His advice was received by them as 
the advice of an angel, and laying aside all human considera- 
tions, they followed it in giving their Mission, which proved 
most fervent and successful. 

22. Let 118 beware of worldly sentimeDts, for often by the pretext 
of zeal or the glory of Gk>d, they cause us to adopt plans which 
never proceeded from Him. and will not be prospered by His Divine 
Majesty.—^. F. de Paul. 

One of his priests having expressed the opinion to this 
Saint, that it would have been well to bqgiu the Missions 
on the estates of some well-known man of rauk, he answered 
thus : '^ Your idea seems to me human, and contrary to 
Christian simplicity. May God keep us from doing any- 
thing for such low ends. The Divine Goodness requires of 
us that we should never do well to make ourselves esteemed, 
but that all our actions should be directed to God alone.'^ 
To the Superior of a house recently established, who would 
have been glad to b^in the exercises with a Mission that 


would make a stir^ he wrote this reply : '' It seems disa- 
greeable to every one to be obliged to b^in so poorly ; 
since to gain a reputation it would be necessary^ as it seeme;, 
to appear even at the beginning with a splendid Mission, 
whioh would show what the Congr^ation can-do. May 
Grod keep you from entertaining such desires I What is 
suited to our poverty and to the spirit of Christianity, is to 
avoid such ostentation, to conceal ourselves, and to seek 
contempt and confusion as Jesus Christ did. If we have 
this resemblance to Him, we shall have Him for the com- 
panion of our labors.'^ 

38. Ah, how true it is that we love ourselves too much, and pro- 
ceed with too much human prudence, that we may not lose an atom 
of our consideration ! Oh, what a great mistake this is ! The Saiots 
did not act thus. — &. Teresa, 

Father Martino del Bio, who in the world had been 
eminent both for rank and learning, after becoming a priest 
and a Religious, used to accompany the steward in a ra^ed 
dress through the city, and carry home to the collie what- 
ever articles he bought. 

St. Francis Xavier, when on his way to India, as Apos- 
tolic L^te, used to wash his own linen on board the ^p. 
When some one told him that he was degrading his office 
by such work, he replied : '^ I consider nothing contempti- 
ble and unworthy of a Christian except sin.'' 

d4. When we have to deal with astute and crafty persons, the 
best way to win them to God is to treat them with much candor 
and simplicity, This is the spirit of Christ the Lord ; and whoever 
is destined to glorify Him, must act according to His spirit.— St. F. 
de Patd, 

When this Saint was sending out one of his priests, he 
addressed him thus : '' You are going into a r^on where 

JULY.— siMPLicmr. 247 

the people are considered very crafty. If this is true^ the 
best way of gaining them fur God will be to act with 
great simplicity^ since the maxims of the Gospel are utterly 
opposed to those of the world ; and as you go for the ser- 
vice of our Lord^ you ought to behave in accordance with 
His spirit, which is full of uprightness and sincerity.*' For 
the same reason, when a house of the Congr^ation was es- 
tablished some time after in that province, he purposely 
selected for it a Superior who was remarkable for candor 
and ingenuousness. And those in his Congr^ation who 
were of that stamp, were always the most beloved by him. 

25. May Qod keep us from vain praise, flattery, and everythiiig 
intended to attract the good- will and protection of others. These 
are very low motives and far from the spirit of Jesus Christ, whose 
love ought to be the principal aim of all we do. Let these, then, be 
our maxims : To do much for the love of God, and not care at all 
for the esteem of men ; to labor for their salvation, and not concern 
ourselves as to what they say of us,^8t. V. de PatU. 

This Saint, though very courteous to all, never flattered 
any one, saying that there was nothing so despicable and 
unworthy of a Christian heart, and nothing more abhorred 
by spiritual persons, than flattery. On the contrary, he re- 
frained from praising people in their presence, except when 
he judged it necessary to confirm them in some good thing 
which they had begun, or to encourage the weak. He 
neither did himself, nor permitted his priests to do, any- 
thing to acquire the favor and protection of others ; and so^ 
in answering a letter written by one of them, he speaks thus : 
*^ I am pleased to hear that you have gained the friendship 
of those persons whom you mention, but not with the pur- 
pose for which you say that you did it ; that is, that they 
might protect and defend you on occasion. Ah, your 
motive is very low^ and very &r from the spirit of Jesus 


Christy whose love should be our aim in all we do. Now 
you^ on the contraiy, are thinking of your own interests, and 
wish to employ the friendship and good-will of these 
persons to secure your reputation. But if this reputation 
be not founded on truth, it is surely avain thing ; and if it 
be, what cause have you to fear ? Bememb^ that du- 
plicity does not please QoA ; and that to be truly simple^ 
we ought to have no other end than to please Him alone.^ 

36. If one happens to forget anything he ought to do, he ehould 
tell his fault candidly ; and if he is asked about anything whidi be 
does not know, or does not possess, he should openly confess hit 
ignorance or poverty, leaving evasions to the prudent of this world. 
—A. V.dePaul. 

It was in this manner that he acted himself. He some- 
times happened to forget to do something that he had prom- 
isedy and he then confessed his fidlure openly. He was 
many times asked for &vors^ even by persons of rank, 
which he did not consider it right to grants and he told 
them with equal sincerity and respect, that he could not 
oblige them. He was also sometimes thanked by persons 
for benefits which they were mistaken in supposing that he 
had conferred upon them. In such cases, he frankly avowed 
that he had nothing to do with these kindnesses. He vras, 
then, wholly opposed to craft and dissimulation^ and said 
that he had always prospered in telling things as they wer^ 
because God had blessed him in it. 

In the same way, St. Charles Borromeo never flattered 
people with fine words, such as are used in courts, but, 
when asked for an opinion, for advice, or for any &vor, 
simply stated his thoughts and intentions, and never made 
a promise which he did not consider it advisable to ftdfiL 
Ob the contrary, he refused £rankly, but at the same 

JULY.— sncpLicrry. 349 

gave his reasons for the satis&ction of the person he was 
obliged to disappoint. In this manner^ he treated people 
of all ranks^ so that his word was trusted more than most 
men's bond^ and the greatest personages came to ask his ad- 
vice in grave and difficult affairs. 

Wiien a certain book^ written by F6n6lon, Archbishop of 
Gambray^ was condemned in Some by Pope Innocent XII^ 
no sooner did the good prelate receive the condemnatory 
brief^ tiian, by an act of singular submission to the Supreme 
Pontiff, he not only read it publicly from his own archie- 
piscopal pulpit^ but himself condemned and renounced his 
own propositions^ and forbade his people, (who tenderly 
loved him, and who were weeping profusely) to read the book 
in the future^ or to keep it in their houses. 

37. The female dove has this peculiarity, that she does everything 
for her mate, so that when she sets, she leaves to him the care of 
herself and of whatever is needed, and thinks of nothing but cherish- 
ing and protecting her dovelets, to please her mate and rear for him 
new offspring. Oh, what a pleasing rule is this — never to do any- 
thing except for €k>d and to please Him, and to leave to Him all the 
care of ourselves ! — St, F» de Sales, 

Such was the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul, who occu- 
pied himself constantly in promoting the glory of Grod, and 
in providing for the wants of others for His sake, without 
thinking of his own wants or of his Congr^ation, which 
he left entirely in the hands of the Lord. 

Such also was St. Jane Frances de Chantal, of whom St 
Francis de Sales said, on one occasion, that she was like those 
loving doves, who bathe and plume themselves on the shore 
of brooks, adorning themselves not so much for the sake of 
being beautiful, as to please the eyes of their beloved mates ; 
since she did not seek to correct herself in order to be pure 
and adorned with virtues, but rather to please her PiviM 



Spouse ; and if He had been equally pleased with ugliness 
and heaxxty, she would have loved one as well as the other. 

28. There is a certain simplicity of heart which is the perfection 
of aU perfections. This is found when our soul fixes her glaooe 
•olely upon Ood, and restrains herself that she may apply all her pow- 
ers, simply and with complete fidelity, to the observance of her 
Rules, and the methods prescribed to her, without turning aside to 
desire or wish to undertake any other thing. In this way, as she 
does not work by her own will, or do anything unusual or greator 
than others, she has no great satisfaction or high opinion of herself, 
but Qod alone greatly delights in her simplicity, by which she raf- 
ishes His heart, and unites herself to Him.— iSlf. F. de 6ale$, 

St. Jane Frances de Chantal practised this simplidty 
wonderfully well^ and experienced its effects abundantly. 
This was what she inculcated most^ and most desired to see 
implanted and established in the minds of her daughters. 
And so^ this was the advice she gave to one of them, who 
asked her^ by letter^ for some counsel that would be useful 
for her perfection : " My daughter," she replied, " if you 
go on seeking every day to acquire perfection by so many 
methods, you will do nothing but lose time, nnd perplex 
yourself more and more. The best means that I can teach 
you, is to put all your strength and diligence into the faith- 
ful observance of your Rules, and to perform with exact- 
ness what is assigned to you from day to day, banishing, 
meanwhile, all thoughts and desires of arriving at the goal, 
until God shall be willing to grant you that grace." 

9. Oh how highly should we value a generous resolution to imi- 
tate the common and hidden life of Christ our Lord ! It is easy to 
see that such a thought comes from God, as it is so utterly opposed to 
flesh and blood.— /S^ V. de PavZ. 

To imitate the hidden life of Christ, was one of the dear- 
est and most frequent occupations of tbi^ S^t^ as it WM 


his lot to lead a life in appearance low and common, in 
which nothing unusual or extraordinary could be seen ex- 
teriorly, though interiorly it was admirable and altogether 
heavenly. Christ could have made Himself kuown and 
adored in every place as the Son of God, by making the 
rays of His glory shine through all Judea as He did upon 
Tabor, yet He chose to pass for the simple son of a carpen- 
ter, and for a man of no account. St. Vincent de Paul 
spoke of himself everywhere as the son of a poor peasant, 
and sought to be considered as a simple country priest. 
He concealed, as far as he could, the lofty gifts of nature and 
of grace that he had received from God, and which rendered 
him worthy of all veneration. He was an excellent theo- 
logian, but called himself a poor ignorant beginner. He 
avoided dignities and honors with greater care and earnest- 
ness than the most ambitious employ in obtaining them. 
He had a supreme abhorrence for ostentation, and found 
his complete satis&ction in abasement and humiliation. 

80. The continual study of those, who, like missionaries, are des- 
tined to instruct others, ought to be this : to take care to put off them* 
selves and to put on Jesus Christ. For, as things, for the most part, 
produce results in accordance with their nature, — if he who gives the 
spirit and form of life to others, is animated by a merely human spirit, 
what can they do but imbibe the same spirit, aud learn from him the 
appearance of virtue rather than its substance. —^8^. F. dePdul, 

This Saint endeavored above all things to divest himself 
of the human spirit, and to clothe himself with that of 
Christ. He sought to conform himself to Him, not only 
in external actions, but also in his interior dispositions, es- 
pecially in his desires and intentions. And so, he never de- 
sired or aimed at anything except what Jesus Christ had 
desired and aimed at ; that is, that Grod should be known. 


loved^ and glorified by all^ and that His most holy will 
ahould be entirely and perfectly fulfilled. 

81. Oodia a Beiog most simple in His essence, admitting no com* 
position whatever. If, then, we desire to render ourselves as much 
like Him as possible, we should endeavor to be by virtue what He 
is by nature ; that is, we ought to have a simple heart, a simple soul, 
a simple intention, a simple mode of action. We ought to speak 
simply, and to act frankly, without deceit or artifice, always letting 
our exterior reflect our interior, and never regarding anything in 
all our actions except Qod, whom alone we endeavor and desire to 
please.—^. F. d$ Paul, 

Such^ in fact, was the simplicity of this Saint, for his ex- 
terior was always in entire conformity to his interior. 
Whoever heard his words could immediately know what 
was in his heart, which healways kept upon his lipB. And 
however nmnerous and varied might be his occupations^ 
they all had the same end^ which was to please Qod alone. 
It might be truly said that he possessed this virtue to such 
a degree that the faculties of his soul were wholly steeped 
in it^ and whatever he said or did proceeded fix>m this 




BtdidaU things toeU.-^Ta&Tk, vii : 87. 

1. Allour good and all our eviloertaiQly lies in the character of our 
actions. As they are, so are we ; for we are the tree, and they the 
fruit, and, therefore, they prove what each one is.— iSt. Augtutine. 

A servant of God^ at the point of death, once apoke 
thus : '^ Now I know that toium opus nostrum in operatione 
consistU — our actions are our sole concern/' 

St. Aloysius Gonzaga set down in writing a resolution 
that he would do all in his power that every one of his 
actions might be good^ and bring him nearer to God. 

St. Bonaventure used to excite himself and others to con- 
stant occupation in good works^ by often repeating this 
beautiful sentiment : Every hour that we waste in sloth, 
we lose a glory equal to the good works we might have 
performed in it. 

2. It is not enough to do good things, but we must do them well, 
in imitation of Christ our Lord, of whom it was written Bene omnia 
fedt — He did all things well. We ought, then, to strive to do all 
things in the spirit of Christ ; that is, with the perfection, with 
the circumstances, and for the ends for which He performed His ac- 
tions. Otherwise, even the good works that we do, will bring us 
punishment rather than reward.— <8<. F. de Paul. 

St. John fierchmans followed this precept in all his ac- 
tions^ however different and unequal they might be^ so 
that any one who saw him^ and who considered the work 
itself, and at the same time the manner and circumstances 


in which it was done^ would be obliged to say that esdi 
action was performed in the best way possible. This wm 
the case not only because his objects and aims were always 
perfectly correct^ but because certain little details in pa^ 
formance were like an exquisite enamel^ which made all 
his actions perfect and finished in the eyes of Qod and men, 
and precious and meritorious in themselves. So^ whoever 
should strip his actions of such adjuncts^ would rob them 
of their beauty and their valne. For example, he never 
enjoyed games^ but rather spiritual conversation or scientific 
discussions. But if he was in the country in vacation^ he 
would play at billiards or quoits, when invited, so as to be 
like the rest. In playing, he would accept as a partner 
a new-comer or an unskilful player, though he might be 
sure it would make him lose the game. He played with 
the greatest attention, neither noticed nor spoke of anythii^ 
else, and played well. When his turn cume, he first made 
the sign of the cross openly, as he did before every action. 
He was never angry, and never raised his voice, whatever 
success he had. If he lost, he immediately knelt to say an 
Ave Maria for the victors. If he won, he was silent, showed 
no particular pleasure, and he did not exult over the losers. 
These circumstances, taken together, greatly elevated the 
action, and made it spiritual, though, in itself considered, 
it was indifferent and trivial. 

St. Ignatius asked a lay-brother who was doing his work 
with much negligence, for whom he did it. And when the 
latter replied that it was for God, — " Now," said the Saint, 
*' if you were working for men, it would not be so bad ; but 
if you are working for so great a Lord as God, it is a very 
great fault to do it as you do." 

8. Many believe thai they can ^o no Vn^ ^n-waRfc Vst \2ekafe ^ns ex- 
C9pt by giving themseWea up xo coivow2^«»3AVw.>i»v ^x3X^^>«a5s«. 


that he does a very good penance for his sins, who takes pains to 
perform all his actions well, to please the Lord, which is a matter of 
great perfection and great merit.— iSi^. F, de SaUi. 

St. John Berchmans did no severe penances^ but he placed 
his whole perfection in performing bis ordinary actions 
well and with great exactness. To this effect lie wrote 
upon a slip of paper the maxim^ Poenitentia mea max" 
ima vita communu — My greatest penance is the common 
life. And with this alone, liow perfect and dear to God 
he rendered himself ! The same thing is told of St. Stan- 
islaus Kostka^ St. Francis de Sales, and many others. 

4. If man could see what reward he will have in the world above 
for well-doing, he would never employ his memory, understand- 
ing, or will, in anything but good works, without regarding at all 
what labor or trials he might experience in them.— iSi^. CtUhmne qf 

Blessed Boniface, a Cistercian monk, once dedired, on a 
Cihristmas Eve, to see the Holy Infant, and the Blessed 
Virgin appeared to him and placed Him in his arms. Then 
the Child raised a veil which covered His face, at sight of 
which the monk exclaimed in ecstasy : ^^ If there were noth- 
ing in Paradise but this blessed &ce, would it not be worth 
while to suffer all the tribulations in the world, to gain a 
sight of it?" 

For this reason, St. Francis remained content in the 
midst of sufferings, and said : ^' So great is the good which 
I expect, that every pain is a delight to me." 

A servant of God, after her death, appeared to another, 
and told her that the felicity and glory to which Grod had 
brought her in heaven for her good works, was so great, 
that if she could possess in addition only as much as is given 

for m Ave Uariot well said, she would be contented to re- 


turii to earth and soffer all Bojts of trials to the day of 

5. Endeavor not to appear singular, but to be 80. This it done Iqr 
leading, in all regp«ct8. tbe common life, doing all things ihB% are en- 
Joined, but with exactness iu the lime, place, and manner prescribed. 
We must do common things not iu a common manner, but in a 
manner more sublime and perfect than that in which they are com- 
monly done. This is to appear externally like ail the rest, and to 
be interiorly singuUr, which is a great virtue and a treasure of 
merit.^i8<. Btrnard. 

This great praise is given to the same Saint himself : j&a< 
in ordinariis non ordinariiLS — In ordinary things he was 
not ordinary. 

It is said of St. Francis de Sales that he was the most 
exact of men, not only at the altar »id in choir, where ho 
observed even the smallest ceremonies punctually and fiiith- 
fully, but also in private, in reciting the Office, and in all 
his duties. 

6. Be not of those who think perfection consists in undertaking 
many things, but of those who place it in doiug well what little thej 
do. For it is much better to do little and do it well, than to undertake 
much and do it ill. Tes, little and good, this is the best. There- 
fore, if we wish to advance, or when we wish to give some special 
honor to our Lord, we have to redouble not our exercises, bat the 
perfection with which we perform tbem.— iSS(. F, de S(Uei, 

A devout young nun recited every day the complete Rosary 
of fifteen decades, but with little devotion, on account of its 
length. One day, the Blessed Virgin appeared to her, and 
told her to recite only the third part of it. " For," said 
she, " a few prayers said fervently, are more acceptable to 
my Son and to me, th in many said negligently and with- 
out devotion.'* 

7. The Iiord measures our perfection not by the number and grtilr 


iof the works we do for Him, but by our manner of doing them. 
And this manner is only the love of God with which, and for which, 
we do them. They are more perfect as they are done with more pure 
and perfect love, and as they are less mingled with the thoughts of 
pleasure or praise in this life or the other.^6i^. John ofiha Orou. 

When St. Bernard was assisting one night at Matins^ lie 
saw some angels who were carefully noting down the 
merit of each of the monks. The merit af those who were 
praying with much fervor, they set down in golden charac- 
ters ; of those with less fervor, in silver characters ; of those 
with good-will, but without affection, in ink ; of those with 
sloth and drowsiness, in water ; but as to those who were 
in mortal sin or voluntarily distracted, they wrote nothing, 
but, standing motionless, they lamented their blindness. 

St. Francis Borgia said that though his sermons often 
pleased neither himself nor others, through a wrong choice 
or arrangement of subject, yet they always produced fruit, 
because he did all he could for his own part, and always 
purely for Grod. 

The same truth is illustrated by the incident of the two 
little copper coins which the widow in the Gospel cast 
into the treasury. Our Lord declared that she had put in 
more than the others, though perhaps there were some 
who gave gold or silver pieces. There could be no reason 
for this, except that she must have given that small amount 
with more love than the ifest, who, as the Lord Himself 
added, gave out of their superabundance, while she, on 
account of her poverty, was obliged to subtract the little 
she gave, from her daily living. 

8. Doing our work well, consists in a very pure intention and 
strong purpose of pleasing God alone. This may be called the prin- 
ciple or the soul of our actions, and it gives them all their value, and 
renders them easy and pleasing to us.^3^. F, de ScUu. 


St. Thomas Aquinas appeared after death to one yAxi 
had much devotion to him^ with a most beautiful star upoi 
his breast^ and said that it was given him as a reward fir 
the perfectly pure intention with which he had perfc 
all his actions. 

St. Maiy Magdalen di Pazzi constantlj taught her^ 
novices to offer all their actious to Grod^ even the smallob 
And to establish them firmly in this practice^ she would^ 
sometimes ask them unexpectedly why they were doiif ] 
whatever they were engaged upon ; and if they answ( 
that they were doing it without supernatural intention^ At 
added : ^' Do you not see that you are thus losing merit} 
God does not accept such actions.'^ 

We road in Ecclesiastical History that the Abbot Pambo^ 
seeing a dancing girl gaily dressed and adorned^ b^anto 
weep. Being asked why he did so^ he answered : '^ Because 
alas ! I do not use as much care and diligence in seeking 
to please God by my works, as this girl employs iu adorning 
herself to please men." 

9. What are the works upon which all our profit and all our per* 
fection depends? All those which it is our lot to perform, but es- 
pecially the ordinary ones that we do every day. These are the most 
frequent, and therefore upon these, more than upon otberSy m 
ought to fix our eyes, and to employ our attention and diligenoe. 
The measure of their perfection will be the measure of our own. 
If we do them perfectly, we shall be perfect ; if imperfectly, imper- 
fect. Bere, precisely, is the difference between the perfect and the 
imperfect Religious. It is not that one does different things from the 
other ; but one does ordinary things with perfection , and the other 
with imperfection and tepidity. — Rodriguez, 

When St. Gertrude was young, she did nothing except 
what her companions did ; indeed, she did less ; for there 
were many things that she was not permitted to do, on ac- 
Qount of her delicate V^eaX^, X^'t ^^ ^%g. \saa\» ^jerfect 


than they. Now^ how did this Saint attain such lofty per- 
fecti<Hi? In this way : The very things thatshe didat the 
e time with the others^ she did with greater perfection 
han they. 

It is said of St Stanislaus Kostka, that though he did 
only the same things that others did^ yet the excellence 
with which he did them^ made it seem that he did more. 

10. Among our daily works, those which we ought to have most 
'at heart are the spiritual. We should make every effort to perform 
them welly and let everything else yield to them, when necessity or 
obedience does not forbid ; for they regard Qod most directly, and 
do the most to advance us in perfection If we act otherwise, we draw 
upon ourselves the malediction fulminated by the Holy Spirit 
against those who do the work of God negligently. — 8t V, de 

St. Vincent himself lived by this rule. Though he 
Mras burdened with a great number and variety of impor- 
tant and urgent affairs^ yet he was most exact in his ordi- 
nary spiritual exercises, which he performed always with 
great devotion and fervor. 

When St. Philip Neii was performing or assisting at any 
qiiritnal exercise^ such as a public ceremony or the reading 
of devout bookS; he was so penetrated with emotion that 
sparks of fire sometimes seemed to come from his face^ and 
a torrent of tears from his eyes. One day, while they were 
singing Compline in the Dominican church, he was seen 
to weep so profusely that the tears drenched* bis clothing ; 
and in reading the Lives of the Saints, especially in his old 
age, he wept constantly. 

When the prophet Eliseus sent Gehazi with his staff, to 
raise to life the son of the Sunamite by its means, he ordered 
him not to give or return a salutation on the road. This 
was intended to show that when we are occupied in any 

260 1 ttAA WHS tfis sAtimL 

spiritoal exercise^ we onght not be diverted to other tliing^ V^ 
even under pretext of dvilily. 

11. The Mass is certainly a f UDCtion the most excellent, the nuA^ 
holy, the most acceptable to God and useful to us, that can be ; 
agined. And so, while it is going on, the angels assist in croiv^' 
with bare feet, with earnest eyes, with downcast browii, with gml^' 
silence, with incredible amazement and veneration. V^ith what ptt* 
rity, attention, devotion, and reverence, then, ought the priest ts 'I 
celebrate it f He should approach the sacred altar as Jesus G9uH'^ 
assist there as an angel, minister there as a Saint, offer there tbi^li 
prayers of the people as a high-priest, interpose there for recondlii-' |i 
tion between Qod and men as a mediator, and pray for hinmelf ass 
simple human being.— /SS^. Lawrence Juetinian. 

St. Cajetan prefaced the Mass always with a sorrowM 
confession and a long preparation, which often lasted eight 
hours^ which he spent wholly in acts of love and contrition^ 
by way of preparation and thanksgiving. The &ce of Si 
Ignatius used to glow while he was celebrating^ and his 
heart became so inflamed, that in many cases he could not 
stand after Mass, and was obliged to be carried to his room, 
to the wonder of all. St. Conrad was so enkindled, that 
the fingers with which he touched the body of the Lord, 
remained bright and glowing, so that in the darkness of 
night they served him for a lamp. The venerable Father 
John Leonardi was, one morning, seen to come from the 
sacristy with his head surrounded by rays. A lady who 
saw him, turned to tlie bystanders and said, " Now, surely, 
I can say that I have seen a Saint !'^ St. Thomas Aquinas, 
St. Francis Xavier, and many others, were often rapt in 
ecstasies at Mass. 

St. Vincent de Paul pronounced the words of the Mass 

in a gentle voice, not very low nor very high, and in a 

manner at once unconstrained and devout. He recited tiiem 

neither very slowly noTN^r^ T»?j\S\^,\iXiX.^^^ai^\3^^ 

AXraUST.— DiLiaEKCE. !M1 

^ the sanctity of the action^ so that his Mass did not or- 
^siuuily exceed half an hour in length. But the interior 
l^t which accompanied his words and actions was singu- 
^Vi on account of its unusual tenderness. He said ilie Cbn- 
Whor, In ^iritu humiUiatiSj Nobis quogue pecocUoribua, 
Wominef non mm dignvs, and similar prayers^ with great 
toontrition and humility. His devotion rose especially while 
leading the Holy GbspeL When he came to any word 
■poken by Christy he uttered it in a more tender and more 
loving voice ; and when he met wiili the words Amen dioo 
mobisj he gave marked attention to what followed. In fine, 
Sie did everything with such modesty, gravity, and tender- 
nesSy as moved all present to devotion ; and so, persons who 
did not know him, were often heard to exclaim : '^ Ah I 
here is a priest who says Mass well I He must surely be 
a Saint ?' After his own Mass, he would serve another, 
fiom devotion, and he did this r^ularly, though over- 
whelmed with business, up to the age of seventy -five years, 
when he could no longer walk without a cane, or kneel 
except with great effort. 

Bat the glorious St. Philip Neri was conspicuous among 
all for this virtue. While others need long preparation in 
order to be recollected and say Mass devoutly, he, on the 
contrary, needed first to amuse himself a little, so that 
often befo]?e going to celebrate, he would have a b<x)k of 
stories read to him. In the act of celebrating, he was 
oft;en noticed to heave deep sighs, and to melt into tears ; 
sometimes he would pause, because he was unable to pro- 
ceed ; sometimes he would shiver and tremble, so as to 
shake the predella, and again, fall into such abstraction 
that it was necessary to pull his vestments to rouse him. 
When he reached the Offertory, the joy o{Vi\^\ieax\.^^& 
«^ jineat while he was young, that his hand ^ovjXi^. Y»fc ^i 



itself^ and he could uot pour the wine into the chalioe^ un- 
less he rested his arm firmly on the altar. In elevating 
the Most Holy Sacrament^ he would remain with his arms 
stretched upward, unable for a time to lower iliem ; and at 
oilier times he would rise a span and more from the ground. 
In taking the body of the Lord, he enjoyed sudi 
sweetness, that he seemed like a person who is tasting some . 
delicious beverage ; and in taking the blood, he pressed the I 
chalice between his lips, so that lie not only rubbed off the 
gold, but wore away the silver, upon which he left the 
marks of his teeth. For this reason, he was not willing 
that any one should stand where his &ce could be seen,— 
not even the server, whom he told to keep at a distance, 
and not bring him the purificator until he should receive 
a sign. If he was to give Holy Communion, his fervor 
increased to such a d^ree that thrills were seen to ruu 
through his whole body, to the great wonder of those pres- 
ent ; and when he took the Ciborium in his hand, he trembled 
so much that the sacred particles were shaken above the 
edge ; his face, meanwhile, seemed all on fire, and an abun- 
dance of tears flowed from his eyes. In saying Mass, he 
uttered the words with so much devotion, that he often 
made those weep who listened to him. When he had fin- 
ished, he withdrew immediately to his room, but with sudi 
abstraction that he often passed close to persons without 
perceiving them, and his face was so pale that he sec med 
rather dead than alive. His Mass, when said in public^ 
was rather short than long, that he might not weary the 
people, so that those who were in haste, were glad to see 
him come out of the sacristy ; but when it was in his pri- 
vate oratory, it lasted not less than four hours. 

12. The divine Office is one of the most excellent works in wbkh 
we can be engaged, a» lUe dlylae praises are celebrated in it B il 



in employment fit for angels, and therefore it ought to be recited 
not by constraint or custom , but by choice, and with the applica- 
tion of our whole soul.— ^. if. Jf. di Paati, 

When this Samt heard the 0£Soe bell^ she was glad to 
find herself summoned to praise God, and jnstantiy laid 
aside whatever she was doing ; and while she was reciting 
the Office^ her &ce showed the attention and devotion of her 
mind. St. AugustiDe^ during its recitation, banished every 
itiier thought, and gave up his whole soul to it. Father 
kiarez says of himself, that on taking up the breviary, 
ivery other thought vanished from his mind, and during the 
rhole time of Office nothing, however important it might 
>e^ distracted hira. 

Father Alvarez never recited it in the streets, nor while 
talking, but always in a retired place, usually kneeling in 
he middle of liis own room, and at the r^ular hours. He 
lid it with great calmness, with much reverence, and slowly. 
le would stop from time to time to dwell upon those pious 
entiments which the Lord communicated to him, the great- 
less of which appeared in his exhortations and in the depth 
if his soul. 

The venerable Father Daponte, when saying the Prodr 
la/mu8 ante Deum — Let us fall prostrate before God, — pros- 
xated himself at full length upon the ground, with the same 
^ling of devotion and veneration that he would have had 
n the visible presence of God. During all the time of the 
Office, he kept up the greatest attention and recollection, 
ind never interrupted it for any cause, nor answered any 
3ne who asked him a question. 

Father Faber, in order to be attentive at Office, often 
imagined his guardian angel on one side, marking all th^ 
words said well, and on the other side, a demon recording 
RUdiatraotioiia of mind, At the b^inning of every psalm he 



said : Pater ocdedis, da mihi 9piritam — Heavenly Fadia^ 
give me Thy Spirit. Then he bade his mind remain atten- 
tive through that psalm. St. Francis Xavier aaid^ with 
fervor^ before each Hour^ Veniy sande 8pilrttu9. St. Bopt- 
venture imagined himself reciting it amid multitudes of 
angels Joining in their choir. St Vincent de Paul did the 
same, and when he recited it privately^ he assumed the 
most humble and recollected posture that he could, hf 
kneeling, with uncovered head, until the last three jean 
of his life, when, on account of his great infirmity, he WM 
obliged to remain sitting. But when he said it in choir, his 
elevation of mind was so great that he seemed as if unoHh 
scions of all things, and wholly wrapt in God. 

All these, and many others, said their Office with great 
devotion, and, at the same time, with no ordinary oonsola* 
tion and fruit. Some of them were so filled with celestial 
delights and sweetness, that they showed exterior signs of it 
It is told of St. Augustine that he was often bathed in 
tears ; of St. Ignatius, that he shed so many tears that he 
nearly lost his sight ; of St. Julian the Monk, that he had 
thus spoiled his breviary, and made it nearly ill^ible ; of 
two young monks whom StMacarius saw, that at each verse 
a flame darted from the mouth of one, and, as it were, a 
lighted torch from that of the other ; of St. Francis Xavier, 
that his great fervor made his heart palpitate so violently 
that he suffered frequent fuintittg-fits ; of St. Mary Magda- 
len di Pazzi, that she had many ecstasies ; of St. Catherine 
of Bologna, that she often remained immovable, with up* 
lifted face, and eyes fixed on the crucifix, and that her ab- 
sorption was so great that she would not feel it if any one 
pulled her habit ; neither would she perceive any fiuilta f 
in the recitation, nor anything that happened in thediapdf 
nor who passed in or out ; nud she said, that it was not T 


possible to remember that one was in the midst of angels 
and gJnging praises with them^ and at the same time to keep 
lihe heart on earthly things. St. Philip Neri^ on ao- 
cxmnt of the great union with God which he experienced 
while saying the Office, was always obliged to recite with 
another^ for he could scarcely know how to bring it to an 
end alone. 

18. Tlie ezaminatioQ of conseience, which all good people are ac- 
cnstomedto make before going to rest, in order to see how they have 
paaaed the day, and whether they have gone forward or backward, — 
is of the greatest use, not only tocouquer evil inclinations, and to up- 
root bad habits, but also to acquire virtues, and to perform our or- 
dinaiy duties well. We must, however, observe that its best use does 
not lie in discovering the faults we have committed in the day, but 
in exciting aversion for them, and in forming a strong resolu^on to 
commit them no more. — Father M, (TAvila. 

We read in monastic history that a holy monk said : 
'^ I do not think the devils have twice entangled me in the 
same fiiult.'^ The cause of this was that in examining his 
first fidly he was so penetrated with shame for his disloy- 
aliy^ and with abhorrence for the sin committed, and he im- 
pressed so deeply upon his heart the resolution of &lling 
into it no more, that no second temptation to it had any 
power over him. All the Saints and masters of the spirit- 
ual life have set a high value on this examination, practis- 
ing it and recommending it as a most efficacious means to 
eradicate any vice or fault, and to advance in perfection. 
We may see this in reading the Lives of St. Dorotheus, 
St. Basil, St. John Chrysostom, St. John Climacus, St. Ber- 
nard, St. Bonaventure, St. Ignatius Loyola, and many 
others. The last-named esteemed it so much that, in a cer- 
tain way, he even preferred it to meditation ; *^ for, by 
Ae ezamen,'' he said, '^ we put in practice what we draw 


from meditation." So at the beginning^ he kept his corn- 
panioDS occupied for a long time in their examination of 
conscience, and in frequenting the Sacraments^ for he thought 
if these things were well done^ it would be enough to pre- 
serve them in virtue. He testifies^ too, of himself that if 
he had gained anjrthing, he knew that it had been acquired, 
in great part, by the diligence he had every day employed 
in making his examen. 

Even the heathen philosophers knew the great utiliiy of 
such an examen. St. Jerome relates of Pythagoras^ that 
among the instructions he gave his disciples, the one that he 
considered of the greatest importance was, that they should 
have two times of day fixed, one in the morning, the other 
in the evening, when they should examine themselves upon 
three points : What have I done? how have I done it? 
what have I omitted that I ought to have done ? — and that 
they should be pleased at the good which they discovered, 
and displeased at the evil. We read that Seneca, Plutarch, 
Epictetus, and others, recommended the same thing. 

14. How can the sun and moon praise God, as the Prophet exhorts 
them to ? By performing well that task which has been imposed 
on them by the Lord. This is great praise which they give Him. 
Behold, then, an excellent way in which you can praise Gk>d at all 
times-— by performing well your tasks and whatever you may have 
to do. — St, Jerome, 

St, John Berchmans was most diligent in every employ- 
ment assigned to him. When he had the care of the Spir- 
itual Father's room, he kept it so neat, and so well provided 
with every little necessary, that the Father was astonished, 
and never found another to equal him. And, what was 
more, he never disturbed him, or said an unnecessary word. 
When he had charge of the lamps, he never once omitted 
to look them over aiA lraii\\iem\ ^sA\iV^^^5gkM|,^^ 


of town on a holiday^ he would either attend to them before 
Biftrting^ or oome back iu tune to have them ready before 
it was dark. Once being afraid that he should lose this 
chargei he b^ged the Father Hector to let him retain it. 

Father Alvarez fiuthfully fulfilled all the charges imposed 
on himy observing even the most minute rules, and con- 
tinued this care and solicitude up to the last day and hour 
that he held them. When he was Bector he never fidled 
to visit his subjects at the hour of prayer, and he did 
this up to the day when he left the house to become Pro- 

16. Never allow yourself to believe that time lost, which is spent 
in performing your charge well. For this is a thing so acceptable 
to the Lord, that He gives in a little time what He would otherwise 
be much longer ia giving, and eveh doubles what has been aban- 
doned in His service.— iSI(. Teresa. 

This Saint relates that she had known a number of per- 
sons who had been long occupied entirely in works of obe- 
dience and chnrity, and who had yet advanced so much 
in the spiritual life that she was amazed. '^ I spoke 
with one in particular/' she added^ ^^ who told me that for 
fifteen years in succession^ obedience had kept her so much 
engaged in the guidance of others and in various employ- 
ments, that she did not remember having a day to hei'self ; 
but she tried her best to snatch an hour for meditation, and 
to act with purity of conscience. She was a soul more in- 
clined to obedience than any other I have ever met, so 
that she attracted to it all with whom she spoke. And 
our Lord rewarded her richly, for, in the end, without 
knowing how, she found herself with that liberty of spirit 
which idl the perfect have so earnestly prayed for, and 
includes all the felicity that can be found in this life.'' 


. 1^ Do not fear that the occupations imposed by o b e d i ei iae >kH 
draw you away from union with G^xi ; for when tl^ey are perfomed 
for His gloxy, they have, instead, great power to unite us doeelly to 
Him. For, how can those things separate us from God, which 
unite our will to His 7 The whole mirtahe arises from the faihire 
to distinguish between being drawn away from Ck>d, and being 
drawn away from the sweetness found in Uie interior perceptioo of 
God. It is true that in occupation this sweetness is not always en- 
joyed (though it is sometimes in the highest degree) ; but in depri?- 
ing ourselves of this for the love of Qod, we gain instead of los- 
ing, while we leave the weak for the strong. While to quit or 
abandon our work to unite ourselves to God by prayer, reading, 
or recollection, by solitude and contemplation, would be to with- 
draw from God, and to unite ourselves to ourselves and to our own 
self-love.— iSlf. F, de 8ale$. 

St Mary Magdalen di Pazzi performed all Her exterior 
duties with so much spiritual delight, and with so pure an 
intention for Grod^ that they were no hindrance to her interi(Hr 
retirement, and did not distract her in the least from God. 
And so, on the instant after finishing any of them, she 
would retire to prayer, and be wholly separated fit)m all 
earthly things, and completely wrapt in Grod. Even in 
the midst of manual labor and employment, she often fell 
into ecstasies, so that she once said : '^ It is the same to me 
whether I am told to go to prayer in the choir, or to any 
manual work, for J make no difference between them. Nay, 
were I to say that sometimes I find God more in such wor^ 
than in prayer, I think I should tell the truth." 

A Franciscan lay-brother who was cook, when he had 
thoroughly performed the work of his charge, used to re- 
tire to prayer, in which he enjoyed many heavenly oonso* 
latioDs. To enjoy more of these, he asked and obtained from 
his Superior permission to give up his distracting occupa- 
tion ; then giving himself entirely to prayer, he fonnd in it 
nothing but aridity aud. dA^i^\ov\^ ^ €^vq% hi$ mi^kfe^ 


he retarned to his former work> when the lost oonsolationB 
ioimediately came back. 

IT. Even little actions are great when they are done well ; so that 
a Utte action done with desire to please Qod, is more acceptable to 
Him. and gives Uim more glory, than a great work done with less 
fervor. We must, then, give particular attention to perform well the 
Uttle w»rks, which are easiest, and are constantly within our reach, 
if we wish to advance in friendship with God.— is^. F. de 8aU$, 

St. Ignatius said of a lay-brother who was a mason, that 
he wrought for himself in heaven as many crowns as he 
laid brides or gave strokes of the hammer, on account of 
the pure and upright intention with which he animated 
these works. 

It is told of St. Francis Xavier that he was very careful 
to do little things well, and that he used to say : '^ We 
must not deceive ourselves, for he who does not take pains to 
excel iu little things, will never do so in great/' 

18. Much more is accomplished by a single word of the FcUer 
fkMiter said, now and then, from the heart, than by the whole prayer 
repeated many times in haste and without attention. — 8C. Teresa. 

The Lord, one day, revealed to St. Bridget that He was 
more pleased with one who would recite with perfect &ith 
and earnestness these three words : Jeau, miserere mei — 
Jesus, have mercy on me, — ^than with another who might re- 
cite a thousand verses without attention. 

19. Whoever has not experienced it. will not be able to believe 
how much we gain by being careful not to fail in little things ; for 
the devil, by means of these, makes gaps and breaches through 
which great things can enter. — 8t. Teresa, 

When St. Louis Bertrand was Superior, he used to re- 
prove and punish very severely, at the "EtiAoj CJw^^Vet^ 


^ % 

« . m 

the very smallest faults, such as fiuling in silenoe, ovov 
sleeping a little, or making a mistake in choir^ — only be- 
cause he judged that advancement and religions discipUne 
depended on these little things. 

St. Lawrence Justinian took more pains to guard him- 
self from slight &ults than irom grave ones ; for he used 
to say, that to beware of grave faults belonged not to Relig- 
ious, but to seculars. 

20. Be careful not to forget God in your oocupationi» from a be- 
lief that in this way you will accomplish more ; for if He abandons 
you, you will not be able to take a step without falling prostrate on 
the (pround. Rather imitate little children, who with one hand 
cling to their fathers, while with the other they pluck strawberries 
and mulberries along the hedges. Attend to what you are doing, 
yet not without raising a glance, from time to time, to your Heavenly 
Father, to see whether He is pleased with your plans, and to ask His 
help. In this manner, you will accomplish even the most difficult 
bu^ness better and more easily. See how the Blessed Virgin quietly 
employed one hand in work, while she was holding upon the other 
arm our Infant Lord,^St. F, de 8ale$. 

St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi performed her exterior oc- 
cupations with sucth abstraction^ that^as her companions 
said^ it seemed her body only was engaged in them, and 
her soul was rather where she loved than where she lived. 
It was observed that at meals in the refectory, at the time 
when there is usually a pause in the spiritual reading, she 
showed by her motions that she was absorbed in some de- 
vout thought. 

We read the same thing of the venerable Father John 
Leonard], who in the midst of business seemed so absorbed 
in God, that he appeared, like St. Paul, to have his **conver- 
sation in heaven." 

It is narrated of St. Rose of Lima, that in all her em- 
ployments she kept her mind uninterruptedly raised to QoA, 



fc> that in readings embroidering, weaving, oonversing with 
otiers, providing for the wants of the fiunily, or walking 
in ike street — ^in every action, in all times and places, she 
was »eholding, as in a dear mirror, and lovingly contem- 
plating, the fair countenance of her Beloved. What is more 
wondeiftd, this continual presence of God occupied her in- 
terior powers with much sweetness, without interfering at 
all with Uie exercise of her senses, so that while she was in- 
teriorly conversing with God, she was exteriorly conversing 
vrith men, answering connectedly, giving advice or orders, 
planning and executing whatever was necessary, with as 
much ease and readiness as if she had no other thought in 
mind. This was truly a wonderful gift granted to her by 
the Lord. 

It is related of St. Anthony, that while he was making 
baskets, he used to repeat from time to time the verse, 
*^ Waerere mei Deus, aeeundvm magnam miserieordiam 
tuam" — Have pity on me, O God, according to Thy 
great mercy. 

We read of the venerable Monseigneur de Palafox, that if 
a doubt occurred to him while writing, he would turn to an 
image of the In&nt Jesus and say, ^^ O Lord, what can 
we say about this T' or again : " O Lord, teach me what I 
have to say P' or : " O Lord, give me light !" Sometimes, 
after he had written what he thought suited to the occasion, 
he offered it to God, saying : " O Lord, let this be for 
the good of souls. Give Thy spirit to it, O Lord 1 Give 
life to these characters, O Life of all created things ?^ If 
at times he felt pleased with his reasoning or his expres- 
sions, he held the paper near the lam{), and said : ** My God, 
is it Thy will that I should burn it ? Nothing here is mine. 
Let every work and every feeling of my own be con- 
sumed r^ But then he received interior light, which showed 
liim tliat it would not be well to do so. and b& i«£E^SkKdu 


SL Among the hindrsDces which prevent as from perf orming otf 
actions well, the foremost is that while we are doing one thing, ws 
axe thinking of another which we have to do» or which we tKn 
done ; so that our occupations interfere with one another, and none 
is well performed. The way to do them all well is to attend BokAj 
to the one we have in hand» taking care to do it as perfectly as pos- 
sible, and baniidiing for the time the thought of every other ; and 
when this is finished, not to think of it any more, but to think ol 
what remains to be done.— AtA«r Jf . (fAvUa. 

At a time when QoA was shedding His heavenly graces 
in abundance upon the venerable Sister Maria Crudfixa, 
and calling her to enjoy the contemplation of Himself in 
eolitude^ her Superioress heaped upon her the offices of 
sacristan^ cook^ refectoriany and in certain novenas of great 
devotion^ she had charge also of the door and of the medi- 
dne-room. She did everjrthing with exactness and to the 
satis&ction of all, and yet found time for her contemplation^ 
This was her method : When she was in tlie saGristy, she 
said to herself^ '^ Now be nothing but a sacristan f^ and 
when she came out of it, she would say, '^ Now do not be a 
sacristan any longer f* and the same with the rest of her 

22. Perform faithfully what God requires of you each moment, 
and leave the thought of every thing else to Him. I assure you Uiat 
to live in this way will bring you great peace.— /S)f. /. F. de CharUaL 

The Saint herself was an example of this courseof conduct 
So was St. Francis de Sales also, of whom it was said that 
when he was doing any work or transacting any business^ 
he gave his whole mind to it^ as if he had nothing else in 
the world to think of. 

Nazianzen relates of his mother, that she threw herself 
wholly into whatever she was doing, and did everything to 
perfection, so that seeing her in the midst of her hou8ehol4 


odonpations^ ooe would think she cared for nothing else ; but 
when she was attending to her spiritual duties^ she showed 
that tkey were receiving her whole attention ; and she felt 
as mudi interest in every occupation^ as if she had no 

38. The lecond hindrance is haste. Beware of It, for it is a deadly 
enemy of ttue devotion ; and anything done with precipitation is 
never done well. Let us go slowly, for if we do but keep advanc- 
ing, we shall thus go far. — St, F, de ScUet, 

It was thus that the Saint himself conducted all his opera- 
tions. St. Philip Neri did the same^ and recommended this 
course to his penitents, often saying : '^ You need not try to 
do every thing in a d:iy, nor to become a Saint in a month. 
Prudence does not advise it.^' 

24. The works of God are performed, for the most part, little by 
little, and have their begin aings and their progress. We ought not 
to expect to do everything at once and in a hurry, nor imagine 
that all is lost, if success does not come in an instant ; but we 
must advance quietly, pray much to God, and make use of the meant 
suggested by His spirit, and never of the false maxims of the world, 
— /». V.dePaul, 

St. Vincent de Paul had a habit of proceeding in all his af- 
fiurs, both in undertaking and prosecuting them, with such 
tranquil lity that he was r^arded as too slow. But experience 
showed that his slowness did no harm, for, to the wonder of 
all, he brought to a successful issue so many and such di£S- 
cult affairs, that many persons together would not have 
been able to do as much, even if they had given their whole 
minds to the work. What is more, he succeeded in this 
way in performing all his spiritual works with fervor, and 
all the indifferent ones with success. 

tW. The third hindrance is anxiety and solicitude. Be diligent and 


accurate in all the affairs of which you have charge ; but, if poi 
•ible, do not let them cause you anxiety and vexation ; thai ii^ 
do not manage them with disquiet, solicitude, and eagerness. Do nil 
worry in attending to them, for worry disturbs the reason, and 
hinders us from doing well even what does not trouble as. Bat 
great affairs do not disturb us so much as a great number of littb 
ones ; therefore, receive these also with calmness, and try to it» 
tend to them in order, one after another, without perturbation. Tboi, 
you will gain great merit by them, for the time spent peacefully ii 
doubtless most usefully employed.— iSS^. F, de 8ale». W 


This Saint passed many hours with poor people who oc- 
cupied him about things of little account. When it was 
said to him^ that it was not well for him to lose so muck 
time on trifles^ he answered : '^ What do you think I ougU Ik 
to do ? These things appear great to them^ and they desire | ^ 
sympathy as much as if the case were really so. Grod knows 
well that 1 desire no greater employment, and that every 
occupation is indifferent to me, if only it regards Hip service. 
While I am engaged in this work, small as it is, I am not 
obliged to do any other. And is it not a sufl&ciently im 
portant employment to do the will of God ?^' To encourage 
one of his penitents to this practice, he wrote to her thus: 
" Whoever can preserve interior sweetness in a multiplic- 
ity of business, may be called perfect. Though few can be 
found even in the Orders who have arrived at this degree 
of felicity, yet there are some, and there have been some in 
every age. We must aspire to this high standard.^' 

St. Jane Frances de Chantal faithfully followed this ad- 
vice, by doing everjrthing with the greatest attention, but 
without any anxiety, and without ever losing peace of heart, 
and so, all she did succeeded well ; and she spoke of this 
freely to her daughters. To one of them she said, one day : 
'* Believe me, my dear daughter, I deeply love our poor 
Congregation, but ynAioMt «ixms^^ ^ — ^^"S&LWi^* ^^tti^^\sm 


ordinarily is not wont to live. But mine^ which is not or- 
dinaiy, lives without it.'^ And to another who had sought 
from her a remedy for the constant perplexities she experi- 
enced in her employments, she wrote : " The origin of your 
trouble and perplexity comes from nothing but the anxiety 
you feel in seekin<^ the good you aim at, and your want of 
patience and submission to the will of Him who alone can 
give it to you. So, if you desire your work to be better 
and less burdensome, you must correct this anxiety and so- 
licitude, striving to work with fidelity, but, at the same time, 
with calmness and spiritual sweetness." 

26. It is a characteristic of the spirit of God to work with gentle- 
ness and love ; and the surest way of succeeding in whatever we un- 
dertake, is to imitate Him.— ^. V, dePaul. 

This Saint managed all his own afiairs in this way, 
whether they were important or indifferent, spiritual or 
temporal, — ^with a great calmness and quiet, which appeared 
even exteriorly. 

27. The fourth hindrance is a desire to do too much. There is 
no need of wearing ourselves completely out in the exercises of virtue, 
but we should practise them freely, naturally, simply, as the ancient 
Fathers did, with good-will, and without scrupulosity. In this con- 
sists the liberty of the children of God ; that is, in doing gladly, faith- 
fully, and heartily, what they are obliged to do.-^St. F, de 8aU$. 

Such, in fact, was this Saint's manner of working — a man- 
ner free, simple, ready, devoid of artifice, proceeding by or- 
dinary and natural means, arising rather from the heart 
than from the mind, and therefore pleasing to Grod, and very 
easy and meritorious for the Saint himself. 

Though St. Jane Frances de Chantal was most exact in 
the observance of her Rules, and in all her employments, 
she took precautiona both for herself and ot\i<st^) \3caX. ^\& 


ezactnen should not be aooompanied by that cf^iritoal coB- 
straint and oppression^ which belf-love often causes for ftnlti 
committed through ignorance, or inadvert^ice, and widi- 
out malice. In everything she went on lovingly, hapfnly, 
and in peace. 

28. Among the many means of perfonning our acttooa well, one 
if to do each of them as if it were to be the last of oar liTes. Al 
eTery action, then, say to yourself : " If you knew that yon were todie 
immediately after this action, would you do it ? and would yon do 
it in thU way r— ae. V. d$ Paul. 

Whatever St. Francis de Sales did, he did it as if it wen 
his last act in the world. 

A certain priest was accustomed to go to confessicm every 
morning before saying Mass. Once, being dangerously ill, 
he was advised to make his confession in preparation for 
death. But heanswered : ^^ Blessed be God ! I havemade 
my confession in that way every day for the last thirty yean, 
as if I were immediately to die ; so I need do no more than 
make my ordinary confession, as if I were going to saj 

20. Another good method is to consider only the present day. One 
of the arts which the devil employs to ruin souls, and to retard 
many in the serrice of God, is to represent to them that it is a Teiy 
difficult and insupportable thing, to live for many years with so 
much exactness, circumspection, and regularity. Now, to consider 
to^ay only, closes the path to this temptation , and, at the same time, 
lends much support to human weakness. For, who ia there thst 
cannot for one day make a strong effort to do all he can, that his 
actions may be well performed f Let one say to himself in the morn- 
ing, '* This day I mean to perform my ordinary actions well." So, 
that becomes easy and tolerable, which might appear very difficult 
if it were taken in a general way, aod with the thought that this 
effort was to be made for a life-time. Meanwhile, by proceeding 
every day in this manner, little by little a good habit is formed, and 
no farther difficulty Is exp^tVeixjii^^.— BiMiT\^u«. 


A oortiiA mouk is mentioned in the Lives of the Fathers^ 
idio even early in the moruing suffered intolerably from 
hunger and weakness. In order not to transgress the holy 
custom of the monks, which forbade any food to be taken 
before three o'clock in the afternoon, he adopted the fol- 
lowing device. In the morning he said to himself: ^^ Hun- 
gry as you are, is it a great thing to wait until tierce?'' 
At tierce he said, ^^ Truly I must make some effort, and not 
eafc until sext." At sext he put the bread into the water, and 
said : ^' While the bread is soaking, I can wait till none ; 
as I have waited so long, I do not mean, for the sake of 
two or three hours, to transgress the good custom of the 
monks." When the hour of none arrived, he said his 
prayers, and took his break&st. So he went on for some 
days, b^uiling himself by these short periods of time, until 
one day, when he was eating at the regular hour, he saw a 
smoke arise from the basket of bread, and go out of the 
window of his cell. This was, no doubt, the evil spirit that 
had tempted him. From that time forward, he no longer 
felt hungry as before, so that, at times, he remained entire 
days without food, and without feeling any need of it. 

In the same book another monk is mentioned, who was 
for some time tempted to leave his monastery. Every even- 
ing he would say to himself, " To-morrow I will go ;" and 
when morning came, he would say, ^^ Now, for the love 
of Gk)d, I will stay one day more." After continuing this 
practice for nine years, he was, at last, freed from the temp- 

80. Il is a great error of certain souls otherwise good and pious, 
that they belieye they cannot retain interior repose in the midst of 
Imsitiesa and perplexities. 8urely there is no commotion greater 
than that of a yessel in the midst of the sea ; yet those on board do 
not ^76 up the thought of resting and sleeping, and the compass re- 
BttiBto always in its place, turning towards the pole. Here is the , 


poiDt : we mutt be careful to keep the compass of our will in oite, 
that it may neyer turn elsewhere than to the pole of the Divine plsss- 
ure. This is the third means of performing our actiona welL^iS^. 
F, d$ 8aln. 

St Vinoent de Paul excelled in this. He was never p^- 
turbed by the multiplicity of business, nor by the difficul- 
ties he encouDtered, but he undertook every thing within- 
exhaustible spiritual strength, and applied himself with 
method, patience, and tranquillity, making the will of 
God his constant aim. This was especially visible when 
he had a seat in the king's Council and at the same time 
the government of his own Congr^ation and of many 
other Ciommunities, Assemblies, and Conferences, together 
with other employments which almost overwhelmed him. 
One might have supposed that he would have been in a 
state of distraction, divided, as it were, among a hundred 
thoughts and cares, and with his mind, in consequence, har- 
assed and agitated. But no. In the midst of a constant 
ebb and flow of persons and employments, he appeared al- 
ways recollected, self-possessed, master of liimself, with as 
much evenness of temper, peace, and tranquillity, as if he 
had only one thing to think about. 

81. All that we do, receives its value from conformity to the will 
of God. When I take food or recreation, if I do it because it is the 
will of God, I merit more than if I went to suffer death without that 
intention. Plant this principle firmly in your mind, and then at 
every action fix your eyes upon it, in imitation of the carpenter, who 
brings every board under the square. Thus, you will do your work 
with perfection.-»5^. F. da Salei. 

This truth was well understood by the good lay-brother 
who said, that when he was sitting at table, he was preach- 
ing Xavier's sermons m ln.d\a. \ foc^ ^<i \i«^ tJiin^ about 


Xavier's preaching was^ that he did the will of God by it^ 
which the lay-broilier was also doing. 

St Mary Magdalen di Pazzi had this perfect conform- 
ity^ not only habitual and implied, but also actual. So &at, 
while it seems to most spiritual persons a very difficult 
thing to direct every action actually to God, it was so easy 
and fiuniliar to her, that she thought it impossible for any 
<nie to work without reflecting upon the will of Qod» 



OporUt temper orarset non dtfioere^WefMUt ahe(^f$prap, amd mi 

/atn<.~Luke, XYiii: 1. 

1. There is certainly nothing more useful than prayer. Therefore, 
we ought to entertain great esteem and love for it, and employ every 
effort to make it well.— /S^. F. de FatU, 

All the Saints have shown great love for this exercise. 
St. Cajetan used to spend in it eight hoars in suooession ; 
St. Margaret, Queen of Scotland, and St. Stephen, King 
of Hungary, almost all night ; St. Frances of Borne, all 
the time that was left from her ordinary occupations ; St 
Rose of Lima, twelve hours a day. At a very early age, 
St. Aloyslus Gonzaga adopted the practice, which he never 
gave up, of occupying in it one, two, or three hours a day. 
When he was at court, he hid himself in the woods, that he 
might not be interrupted, wiiile praying, by his companions. 

St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi, while still in the world, 
and only nine years old, dedicated to this divine exercise 
one hour, then from two to four hours, daily, and finally, 
whole nights ; and after she entered religion, she spent in it 
all the time which the novices had left at their disposal. 

St. John Berchmans, from the age of eleven, gave to it all 
the time that remained from his studies. Any comer of the 
house served him for an oratory, and he was often found by 
his family at midnight praying with bare knees upon the 



St Philip Neri^ from his diildhood^ gave himfielf to 
prayer so earnestly^ advanced in it so far^ and acquired such a 
habit of it, that wherever he might be^ his soul was always 
elevated to divine things. And so^ when his room was full 
of people, and various affiurs were under discussion, he 
could not sometimes refrain from raising his eyes or hands 
to heaven, or uttering some aspiration, though he watched 
over himself carefully, that he might do nothing of the 
sort in the presence of others. When he went out of the 
house, he was so abstracted that some one had to warn him 
when a salutation was to be returned; and sometimes, 
when his attention had been secured with great difficulty 
and by pulling his robe, he would make a gesture like a 
person who has just been roused from a heavy sleep. 

8. Pnyer well made giyes much pleasure to the angels, and there- 
fore it is much assisted bjf them ; it gives great displeasure to the 
devils, and therefore is much persecuted and disturbed by them.— 
8t. J. OhrjftasUnn. 

The same Saint says that the angels have a high esteem 
for him who renders himself intimate with God by prayer ; 
that while he is making it, they stand beside him in perfect 
silence ; and when he has finished, they praise and applaud 

St. Macarius, being present, one night, at the prayers of 
the Community, saw the place filled with black children, 
who went among the monks and mocked them. They 
pressed two fingers on the eyes of some, and these immediately 
fell asleep ; they laid a finger on the mouths of others, and 
these yawned ; to some they^ appeared in the form of women ; 
to others, in that of laborers at work ; to these, of merchants 
selling goods ; to those they seemed as if at play : and they 
produced in the minds of all a vivid picture oorresoondin^ to 


the outward appearance they assumed. But scarcely had 
they approached some, when they fell to the ground, as if 
violently repelled. When the Saint afterwards asked his 
companions what had happened to them at that time, he 
found they all had suffered the same temptations which he 
had seen. 

8. Souls that have no habit of prayer, are like a lame and paraly- 
tic body, which, though it has hands and feet, caonol use them. 
Therefore, to abandon prayer seems to me the same thing as to lose 
the straight road ; for as prayer is the gate through which all the 
graces of Qod come to us, when this is closed, I do not know how 
we can have any. — St. Tereaa, 

St Teresa proved this by her own experience ; for, hav- 
ing abandoned prayer for some time, she b^an to fidl into 
certain faults and defects, from which, though they were 
slight, she could not free herself, — rather, she went daily 
from bad to worse. She was herself obliged to say that 
she wiis 00 the road to perdition, to which the Lord told 
her she would have come, if she had not resumed prayer. 

4. The soul that perseyeres in the exercise of prayer, lioweTer 
many sins, temptations, and falls of a thousand kinds the devil may 
oppose to it, may hold it for certain , after all, that the Lord will 
sooner or later rescue it f rom.danger, and guide it into the harbor of 
salvation— iS^. Teresa, 

St. Mary of Egypt confessed to the Abbot Zosimus, that 
for seventeen years after her conversion, she suffered con- 
stant and frightful temptation, yet because she gave her- 
self to prayer, she never fell. The same thing happened 
to St. Augustine, to St. Margaret of Cortona, and many 

5. A man of prayer is capable of eyerything ; therefore, it is of 
gretLi importance tbat mV^&\oTvan«^ ^\if>\]\^ ^^^ ^^^^x^sR^^f^ to \t^ 


exercise with fmrticular earnestness ; and as without it they will gain 
little or DO fruit, so with its help they will hecome much more 
able to moYe hearts and oonyert souls to their Creator, than by 
learning and oratorical skill.— iS^. F. de Paul, 

St. Francis Borgia was a man of much prayer^ in which 
he would remain, as if in ecstasy, sometimes for six hours 
in succession, which appeared to him but a moment ; and 
the mere sight of him in the pulpit would rouse the people 
to compunction. 

St. Thomas, St. Bonaventure, and the Blessed Albertus 
Magnus^ confessed that they gained their learning more by 
prayer than by study. We read of St. Thomas, in particu- 
lar, that not being able to understand a text of Scripture, 
he had recourse to prayer ; and while he was praying with 
great fervor, there appeared to him the holy Apostles Peter 
and Paul, and explained the difficulty, in a voice so clear 
and distinct that it was heard by his companion Brother 

6. When we haye to speak to others on spiritual matters, we ought 
first to speak of them to Qod in prayer, and empty ourselves of 
our own spirit, that we may be filled with the Holy Spirit, which 
alone illuminates the mind and inflames the will. Superiors, espe- 
cially, should do this, aud endeavor to haveconcinual communication 
with God, having recourse to Him not only in doubtful and difficult 
cases, but in everything that occurs, to learn immediately from 
Him what they are to teach others, in imitation of Moses, who an- 
nounced to the people only what the Lord had previously taught him. 
Hao dieit 2>m»nu«— Thus saith the Lord.— /S^. V, de Paul 

When this Saint was about to deliberate on some busi- 
ness, or take some resolution, or give some advice, he was 
accustomed before speaking and even before thinking of 
the matter, to raise his mind to God to ask light and hel^. 
Qasuch occasions, be usually raised liis eyes \/(> YifiaN^Xk^ ^^s&l 

384 ▲ TXAJt WITR THS flACBm. 

dropped them, and kept them partly closed^ as if oonsidt- 
ing with Gh)din his own heart before replying. When 
matters of importance were under consideration, he desired 
that time should be taken, to recommend them to GocL 
And as he trusted wholly to the Divine wisdom, and not at 
all to bis own, he received from heaven great lights and 
graces, by means of which he often discovered things which 
could not have been penetrated by the human intelleot 

In grave matters, St Ignatius never resolved upon any- 
thing without first recommending them to God in prayer. 

When the Abbot Pambo was asked for advice, he used to 
reply, ^^ Give me time to think.'' Then he made it a subject 
of prayer ; and if he received any light fromGxxl, he com- 
municated it ; otherwise, he did not answer at alL 

7. Mental prayer consists in weighing and anderstanding wbst 
we are saying, who it is to whom we are speaking, and who we are to 
have the courage to speak to so great a Lord. To have these and 
similar thoughts, is properly to make mental prayer. Their opinion, 
however, is not to he followed who helieve that its whole essence con- 
sists in thinking, so that if they can keep their thoughts fixed hy a great 
effort , then they consider themselves very spiritual and men of prayer ; 
but if they are able to do this no longer, and their attention wanders 
a little, even to good things, they imagine they are doing nothing. 
No, the substance of mental prayer, in my opinion, consists in noth- 
ing but conversing with God as with a friend. And so, to speak of 
this thing or of that to Him, who, we know, loves us, is mental 
prayer.—^. Teresa. 

When St. Ignatius was once travelling with his compan- 
ions, each with a bundle on his shoulders, a worthy man, 
moved with compassion, offered to carry all their burdens, 
and did so. When they came to inns on their way, the 
Fathers tried to findaoiueTicyok^^«BjcVifciY\\vvasfilf^ to make 
their pmyev ; and the good xxiwi, ^^eai^^ikv^^i^xaA^ ^»st- 


ner of his own, where he remained kneeling^ like them. 
Wlien some one asked him what he was doiag there^ ^^ I 
mm doing nothing/' he replied^ ** but saying : ^ These are 
Saints^ and I am their ass. Whatever they are doing, I 
iprould do/ And I stay there offering this to the Lord/' 
It is said that in this manner he succeeded in becoming 
Tcry spiritual, and attaining the gift of a very lofty oon-^ 

The venerable Monseigneur de Palafox, having frequently 
considered in prayer who he was that was speaking, and 
to whom he . was speaking, — ^that it was the most unworthy 
of men to the Divine Goodness, a wretched worm to God, — 
was so filled with humiliation that he wept. It grieved 
him that he had the temerity to speak. ^^ What T' he 
exclaimed, ^^ a little dust of the earth, the worst, the most 
miserable, the most abandoned, man in the world, speak to 
the Eternal, the Infinite, the Boundless T' Then he was 
afraid, and said : ^^ O Lord, am I to speak to Thee ? Am 
I to have the boldness to *love thee ? a God infinite, a God 
all-powerful. Creator of all that is created I and I nothing, 
and less than nothing, and, what grieves me most, wicked, 
and more than wicked I What is this ? How can this be 
borne ?'* But again he would say : " O Lord, is it not 
just to love? Then ought I not to love Thee? O Lord, 
the worms adore Thee, and I am a worm ; then I can 
adore Thee I O Lord, Thou earnest to seek sinners — I am 
the greatest of sinners ! O Lord, if Thou didst abase Thy- 
self that we might adore Thee, might speak to Thee, might 
pray to Thee, why shouM I not adore Thee, speak to Thee, 
pray to Thee V 

8. If, while one is praying, he regards and considers the fact that 
he is conTersing with Qod with more atteation UiasiX\i^'?iQit^^tx 
j^oUM^ lie Jb mMog rootd and mental pray^c aXQuctt,'«i^^'(&K| 

286 A VfiAft WITH nifi SAIK1». 

be of much advantage to him. Bat if he does not ooniider with 
whom he is speaking, nor what he is saying, it may be thought ce^ 
tain that, howeTer much he may mo?e his lips, he prays very littk 
—St. Tsreia. 

A certain bishop once saw an angel come down fiom 
heaven, and collect the tears of a woman who was praying 
in a comer of the church. Astonished at this, he asked 
her, as they went out, what she had been doing at that time. 
She replied that she was reciting the Pater noster, Ave ifa- 
ria, and Credo. 

9. After our affections haye been moTed in prayer, we need not 
multiply considerations, but stop a little, and dwell upon those al- 
ready made ; then, from time to time, say to our Lord some word of 
compunction, loye, or resignation, according as we feel ourselves 
inclined. This is the best kind of prayer.— iSI(. J. F, de Chantal. 

St. Cyril of Alexandria made this clear and plain by a 
comparison. ^^ Meditation/' said the Saint, ^^ is like striking 
the flint with the steel to draw out a spark ; but when the 
spark has come and lighted the tinder, we lay aside the 
steel. So, by considerations and the use of the intellect, 
we strike the hard rock of our heart, until we kindle in it 
the love of God, and the desire of humility, mortification, or 
some other virtue ; and when this is come, we rest upon it, 
and seek to establish ourselves in it firmly. This is certainly 
a better and more useful prayer, than if we should make 
very lofty and far-fetched considerations and arguments.'^ 
It was in this way that the Saint, and all others who have 
profitted by prayer, conducted it. 

This truth was well understood by a good servant of God, 
who ill his prayer, which was generally upon our Lord's 
Passion, did not go very MV^ mt« speculations and reason- 
ings. But after re]JTeseat\^^^^^cl^ \£^\^^\ss^^«sr| xssjs\ 


which he was to meditate, — ^as soon as he felt any affection, 
8ach as love or gratitude towards God, or sorrow for hav- 
ing offended Him, with the intention to offend Him no 
more, or perhaps a desire to imitate Christ in humility or 
suffering, or any similar affection, — he rested upon it, and 
endeavored to warm and cherish it in his heart. When he 
perceived that it was growing cool, he tried to enkindle 
it again, with the whole or a part of the consideration which 
had lighted it up at first, saying : ^^ What a great suffering 
was this ! Who endured it ? The Son of God — the Son of 
God ! And for whom did He endure it ? For me , — ^and the 
Son of God endured to suffer so much for me ! And I can- 
not endure to suffer a word, a little slight, for ]ove of Him ! 
How much has Jesus Christ done for me ! and I never 
cease offending Him I Where are my ordinary human feel- 
ings ? Ah, how sorry I am that I have grieved my Grod 
in this way ! Surely I will offend Him no more ! Behold, 
how mnch my good God has loved me ! and I do not love 
Him, who loved me so much ! Ah yes, I mean to love 
this Grod, who loves me so much I" So he continued dwell- 
ing on these affections and bringing them up afresh, and 
in this way became a man of great perfection. 

10. Souls but little coofirmed in piety, adyance well and happily, 
when the Lord gives them consolations in prayer. But if He after- 
wards depriyes them of these, they immediately become languid 
and discooteoted, like children who thank their mother when she 
giyes them sweet things, and cry when she takes them away, because 
they are'children, and do not know that a long course of such things 
is hurtful to them, and causes worms. Sensible consolations of 
the soul often produce the worm of self-satisfaction and that of 
pride, which is the poison of the soul, and corrupts eyery good 
work. This is the reason why the Lord, who gives them to us at 
first to encourrtge us. afterwards takes them away, that they might 
not hurt us, and therefore merits no less thanks in taking them away 
tban in giving tiiem.^Sf. t. dc Safei, 


A great servant of God said of himself : ^^ For forty jm 
I have exercised myself in prayer without any interior 
eolation, but with much advantage. My only 
is that I have served God at my own expense.'^ 

St. John Berchmans often ex|)erienced great oon8ola(20i|(tj 
in prayer, but, from time to time, also great aridity. In 
such cases, he never lost his courage or cheerfiilness. 


11. When the soul finds herself oppressed by aridity and steriDl^, 
•he oaght to make the prayer of reverence, confidence, and confani' 
ity to the Di^ne will, standing in the presence of God like apM* Iq 
man before his prince, making use of such words as express a loTifl| I , 
rabmission to the Divine pleasure.—iSt. /. F, d$ ChantaL I 


'* I should never wish," said St. Teresa, " for any otto |1 
prayer than tliat which would cause me to grow in viitnei |) 
So I should consider that a good prayer, which was afc* 
tended by many aridities, temptations, and desolations, that 
left me more humble. Can he be said not to pray, who is 
in the midst of such trials ? On the contrary, if he offers 
them to God, and bears them with confoimity to His lioly 
will, as he ought, this is prayer, and very oft^n much better 
than his who wearies his brain with various reflections, and 
persuades himself that he has made a good prayer if he has 
squeezed out four tears." 

St. Philip Neri considered it an excellent remedy in 
such case to imagine ourselves beggars, as it were, in the 
presence of God and the Saints, and, as such, to go now to 
one, now to another, to ask spiritual alms, with that feel- 
ing and earnestness which the destitute usually exhibit 
He advised, too, that this should be done even corporally 
at times, by visiting the churches of different Saints, to ask 
some favor from each. 

19' Whoever wla\ie& \,o i^xo^xY^^ y^v^^\%^ %\Lould aot take acoouBfi 


off aplrhuil oonsolations. I know by experience that the soul which 
Ibmm started on this road with a full determination not to consider 
'Wrbether the Lord gives or denies him consolations and tenderness^ 
mod really acts on this determination, has already made a great part 
of the journey. — St. Teresa, 

St. John Berchmans, when asked what remedies he 
made use of against aridity, replied, ^^ I pray, I take care 
to be oocapied, and I have patience.'' 

St. Francis de Sales was never angry with himself on ao- 
ccmnt of the desolations, aridities, or interior abandonment 
which he endured. He told St Jane Frances de Chantal 
tliatwhen he was at prayer, he was not in the habit of re- 
flectiiig as to whether he was in consolation or desolation, but 
if the Lord gave him any good sentiments, he received them 
with profound reverence and simplicity ; and if He gave 
none, he did not reflect upon it, but remained still before 
€k)d, with great confidence, like a loving little child. 

18. There is another thing which greatly afiUcts those who give 
themselves to prayer. It is the distractions which often come and 
carry their thoughts, and their hearts too, hither and thither. '^^ * " 
come at times from the immortificatioo of ttie senses ; at tih*^ &%««. 
the soul being distracted in itself, and often because the Lord wills 
it, to try His servants. Now, in such cases, we must recall our 
Ihoni^ts from time to time, by reviving our faith in the presence 
of €k>d, and by remaining before Him with reverence and respect. 
If we do not succeed in fixing them on the prescribed point, we 
most bear those annoyances and vexations with humility and pa- 
tience. It will not be lost time, as at first sight it may appear, but 
such a prayer will sometimes be more fruitful than many others 
made with recollection and pleasure. For, all the actions per- 
formed to banish or to endure these distractions, as they are done 
in order not to displease €k>d, and to become better qualified for 
His service, are so many acts of the love of Qod. — 6t, Tereea 

St. Jane Frances de Chantal gave this advice to her 
dai^/en^ which she surely also practised \ier»5i\i* ^^ 'Wmk 

290 A YEAB WITH THE 8AIin!8. 

one is disturbed by distractioiis in the time of pn 
it is well to make the prayer of patience^ and to sa} 
possible^ humbly and lovingly : O Lord^ Thou art 
sole support of my soul, and all my consolation P' 

St John Chrysostom advised one who was easily rar 
away by distractions, to arouse himself by this comparii 
'^ What ! I stand talking with a friend about news, in 
reports, and I am all attention ; now that I am convon 
with God about the pardon of my sins, and the waj 
me to be saved, I am all torpor ! Though my koeef 
bent, my mind goes wandering through the house 
through the streets ! Where is my &ith ? where, 

St. Aloysius Gronzaga possessed a gift of prayer that 
no less worthy of wonder than of envy. We read of 
that he reached such a point that he scarcely ever sul 
from distractions. Once, when he was giving an aoc 
of his interior, the spiritual Father asked him whethc 
suffered many distractions in prayer. He paused to t 

""^Tonenty then answered that if he should put tog 
an tn> fxad had for six months, he did not believe 
would occupy as much time as one Ave Maria. — A great 
In truth ! But the efforts he made to induce the Loi 
grant it were not slight. By practising continual n 
fication of all his senses ; by never occupying his : 
with any thoughts but such as might perfect him in 
and learning; by throwing himself at the time for pr 
wholly, with all his fervor, into it, — thus he had so dose 
way to distractions, that they did not dare, so to spea 
approach him. 

14. The whole aim of whoever ih tends to giye himself to pi 
ought to be to labor, to te&obre, to dispose himself, with allpo 
dil^nce, to couf otm Yu^ m\\ Xo xJsxaX o\ Q^o^. '^ot \^v^5Q^A tsu 


ill the Idghest perfection that can be acquired iu the spTiritaal way. 

It was the principal object of all the prayers of this Saint, 
lK> conform herself in everything to the Divine will. This 
■Iso was the end that St. Bernard fixed for himself at the 
b^inning of his prayer, when he encouraged himself to 
make it, as we read in his Life, by the hope of knowing 
Bud doing the will of God. The same thing is related of 
Bt. Vincent de Paul, and of many other servants of 6od« 

15. Prayer ought to be humble, fervent, resigned, persevering, 
fpd accompanied with great reverence. One should consider that 
2b itaQdB in the presence of a God, and speaka with a Lord before 
WlM>ni the angels tremble from awe and fear.— /8i^. M. M, di Paeei 

BL Francis de Sales, even when he was alone, remained 
before Grod, through the whole time of prayer, humble, 
abased, composed, motionless, and with singular reverence, 
like a loving son. 

St. John Berchmans remained always on his knees, with 
his eyes closed, his hands clasped on his bosom, without 
mpport, motionless as a rock, with a countenance full of 
joy and such ardor that others placed themselves near him, 
that they might gain fervor by looking at him. 

St. Bose of Lima kept herself recollected, and so great was 
ber attention and devotion, that any object that presented it- 
self before her, distracted her no more than if she were in- 
soisible. When she went to church, she placed herself in a 
corner, with her eyes fixed upon the tabernacle. She would 
remain thus for many hours immovable, while the sight of 
persons passing near her, and the general buzz and mur- 
mur of the crowd, did not disturb her at all. 

At the close of their prayers, many Saints dio^^^xXfcTtfst 
mwkBf of ibeir fervor. St. Gervasius, tlie'Bvdao^,^^^^^^^^ 


seen with rays around his head ; the fiuse of the velM^L f, 
able Father John Li^onardi was so changed and glowi^liey 
that he seemed transformed into a Seraph ; and the Abbotl 
Silvan us was transported to such a d^ree that all d» I Si 
things of the earth seemed to him vile and abject, andhf 
covered his eyes with his hands that he might not seetho^' 
saying : " Close, my eyes, and seek not to look at the tfainp' 
of the world ; for there is nothing in it worthy to be g^ lioi 
upon/' lig: 

St. Bernard, one morning, saw an angel going throng lifi 
the choir with a censer full of perfumes, censing the monb lie 
as they were at prayers. This censing produced in the |tc 
hearts of the fervent a very sweet fragrance, but in those 
of the negligent and sleepy, a foul and sickening odor. lb 

16. Try to disengage yourself from so many cares, and takei 
little time to think of Qod and to rest in Him. Enter into the lecnk 
chamber of your heart, and banish from it every thing sayeyoor 1^ 
Creator alone and what can help you to find Him ; then having |k 
closed the door, say to Him, with all your soul: " Lord, I seek Thy 
divine countenance, — teach me to find it 1** — St. AuguUine, 


St. Francis de Sales called the centre of his soul the 
sanctuary of God, where nothing enters save the soul and 
God. This was the place of his retirement and his ordinary 
abode ; and therefore, in his soul there was nothing but 
purity, simplicity, humility, and union of the spirit witli 
its God. 

When St. Bernard was entering a church to pray, he | 
would say to his thoughts : " Remain here outside, useleffi 
thoughts and disorderly affections, and thou, my soul, enter 
into the presence of thy Lord V 

17. Those who can shut themselves up in this little heaven of the 
M)ui, where He dweWa -wVio \i«A^\fe^ \v<iv?«ii %.Tid earth, may hb- 
Ikre that they are ¥iaMuu|[^ Vw wi »«iWs;«x ^^ .«sA N^axs^tfsi^Mfik 


not fail to drink of the water of the fouutain, for in a little time 
they will make great progress.— iSS^. Ibreta. 

St. Catherine of Sienna, who was very fond of retirement^ 
was loaded by her parents with cares and employments. 
But she built for herself a cell in her own heart, where she 
remained in constant retirement, even in the midst of the 
most active occupations, contemplating God and convers- 
ing &miliarly with Him. Thus she succeeded in gaining 
a firm and constant union with His Divine Majesty, and 
■he used to say that the kingdom of God is properly in our 
hearts, where He fixes His abode. 

A devout maiden having become a Religious, devoted 
herself to a peculiarly retired life, withdrawing herself more 
than usual fix)m all communication at the grate. For this 
reason, her relatives endeavored to persuade her to rest and 
refresh herself with some innocent conversation ; but she 
replied that she was constantly engaged in intercourse 
that kept her cheerful and happy, and it was conmiunion 
with Jesus Christ. 

** How much it helps me,^' said St. Teresa, " to remember 
that I have company in my heart, even Gt)d I and I re- 
main there truly with Him.^' 

18. In mental prayer, we are not obliged to employ our intellect 
all the time. We can occupy ourselves in the presence of God by 
con versing and consoling ourselves with Him, without the weariness 
of formal considerations and choice words. We can represent to 
Him simply our necessities, and the cause He has for showing us 
mercy. For example, when we think of some part of the Passion, 
it is a good thing to make a consideration first, by meditating on the 
pains which our Lord suffered in it. But let not the soul weary it- 
ielf by seeking too long for this ; let it rather sometimes remain still 
with Christ, and keeping the intellect inactive if possible « ktiV\> oc- 
cupy itself, in tbougbt, in looking upon Him ; ^^^ ^t. «iceom^«i.xii V&\si^ 
mtfaron of Him, bumble itself and cousole i\^\l ^Vi^ ^m> vA 


fy^member that He did aot deserye to be there. Tbii method of 
prayer has many adraDtaget.— iSf. Tereio. 

This Saint testifies of Iierself that she frequently practised 
tliis kind of prayer, and derived much advantage fix>m it 

Gerson relates that a servant of God used to say ; '^ For 
forty years I have practised mental prayer with all possible 
diligence, and I have found no better nor easier method of 
makiiQg it well^ than that of presenting myself before God 
as a child or a b^gar, poor, blind, naked, and abandoned/' 

It wasthusthatSt. Francis prayed, when he passed whole 
nights repeating and dwelling upon these few words, '^ My 
God, who art Thou^ and who am I V^ Now exciting him- 
self to love for so great a God, now to contempt for so vile 
and ungratefiil a creature, he would sink into confusion and 
shame for his many fitilures, and ask pardon and help 
from the Lord. 

19. In praytrr it is weU to occupy ourselves sometimes in making 
acts of praise and love to God ; in deBires and resolations to please 
Him in all things ; in rejoicing at His goodness and that He is what 
He is ; in desiring His honor and glory ; in recommending our- 
selves to His mercy ; also in simply placing ourselves before Him, 
beholding His greatness and His mercy, and, at the same time, our 
own vileness and misery, and then to let Him give us what He pleases, 
whether it be showers or aridity ; for He knows better than we 
what is most suitable for us. These acts do much to arouse the 
will and the affections. Be careful, when these sentiments come, 
not to leave them for the sake of finishlDg the ordinary meditation. 
For, to profit greatly in this course, the chief point is not to think 
much, but to love much. Therefore, whatever will arouse you to 
love, do a.-^St, Torua, 

Father S^neri the younger one day said, with tears, 
to an intimate friend : ^^ Do not act as I have done ; for, 
from the time 1 begsoi to atoA^ ^JaesAa^ ^ 1 always spent the 



the affections^ so that I had little time left for reoom- 
mending myself to Grod. But finally the Lord deigned 
to open my eyes. Ever since, I have always tried to spend 
the whole time in recommending myself to Him ; and if 
I have done any good either to myself or others, I think it 
is all dae to this holy exercise.^' 

We read of St. Jane Frances de Chantai that she found 
her delight and repose in the consideration of the vast per- 
fections of God; and in the desire that this Supreme Grood 
might be known and loved by all His creatures. It is re* 
lated, toO; of the blessed Egidius, a companion of St. Francis, 
that by meditating often upon the perfections, works, and 
mercies of God, he became filled with such great love tow- 
ards Him, that he could not speak of Him, nor hear 
Him spoken of, nor even think of Him, without immedi- 
ately Mling into an ecstasy. 

20. It is well to imagine sometimes in prayer that insults or af- 
fronts are inflicted upon us, or that misfortunes fall upon us, and 
then to strive to accustom our hearts to pardon them and hear them 
all with patience, in imitation of our Savior ; for in this, much spirit- 
ual strength is gained.— ^8^. Philip Neri. 

When St. Ignatius was once confined to his bed by ill- 
ness, he began to think whether anjrthing could happen 
which could disturb him. After having imagined many 
troubles and trials, he found that nothing could afflict him 
and take away his peace, except to see the destruction of 
his Society. But after meditating several times upon the 
point, he gained the mastery over liimself to such a degree 
that he thought, if this should happen, a quarter of an 
hour spent in praying would suffice to make him tranquil 
and resigned. 

J9l We Aould 9et n high valine oq n^^WaWou u^ou ^$[v^ ^ vAs^ti^ 


of our Redeemer. For, a simple remembrance or meditation apoa 
this, is worth more than if for a whole year one sliould take the 
discipline to blood, or fast on bread and water every week, or t^ 
cite the whole psalter eyery day.— -JSI. Alberiui Magnu$. 

This was an ordinary subject of meditation with St. 
Francis Xavier, and a continual one with St. Casimir^ evm 
when hearing Mass, and he applied himself to it with so 
mudi intensity that he frequently became insensible. SL 
Bridget, too, made it almost always, and never withont 

The Empress Leonora, from long meditations on the Pas- 
sion, conceived so tender a love for Jesus Crucified, that if 
she had been equally sure, as she said, of being saved in the 
midst of ease and honors, she would have chosen in prefer- 
ence the way of the cross, that she might in 8ome degree re- 
semble her Lord. Thence she drew that generosity whidi 
enabled her to conceal her illnesses and bodily pains, and re- 
frain from complaint or lamentation. And if any one, in 
such cases, seemed to sympathize with her, the humble ser- 
vant of God would say : " This cross is very light and very 
dear to me ; without it I could not be ccmtented. I have 
very great need of it — I should otherwise be too presump- 

The venerable Monseigneur dePalafox often practised the 
same exercise. Sometimes he represented his soul under 
the figure of a bird fiying, and then becoming weary, and 
resting upon the nail which fastened our Lord's feet to the 
cross ; then contemplating Him, and drinking with the 
greatest consolation the blood that flowed from His wounds. 
Again, he would take the figure of a bee, going as, fitnn 
flower to flower, to one or another wound of our Lord — to 
those of the head, tlie haudS) the feet, and especially to that 
of the side, into w\uc\i Vvft ^wiJA^ij^fcx w.\\^&s^ \sijnaeIC 


SometimeSy when weary of temporal things, such as writ- 
ing or study, he would turn to the feet of Jesus, saying, 
'' My Jesus, let me rest here T' 

This devotion rose to a singular height in St Philip Neri, 
who could not meditate, nor read, nor speak, nor hear, 
of the Passion of our Savior, without becoming pale as ashes 
and shedding a flood of tears. This was especially tlie 
case in Holy Week, and still more, if any mention was made 
of the love with which He suffered for us. One day, 
when he was preachmg on this topic, he was overcome by 
extraordinary fervor, and b^an to weep aud sob so violently 
that he could not recover his breath, and was obliged to de- 
scend from the pulpit and leave the church. As this occurred 
many times, and could not be prevented, he was obliged, for 
scmie years before his death, to give up preaching on this 
subject ; and he could not speak of it even in private. He 
even became so sensitive that at times, if he only heard the 
-words Passion of Christ, he would weep so as to be unable to 
utter a word. 

A similar thing is said to have happened, on a Oood Fri- 
day, to the venerable Father Louis de Grenada, when he went 
into the pulpit to preach on the Passion. Scarcely had 
he uttered the words, " Passio Domini nostriJesu ChrisH/' 
when he burst into a torrent of tears. After he had re- 
covered his breath a little, he repeated the same words, 
but with the words the tears came back, and more abun* 
dantly than at first. Finally he made a vigorous effort 
to b^in the sacred words for a third time ; but a third 
time the fit of weeping returned, with such force and violence 
that it excited universal commotion through the audience, 
so that for a long time nothing was to be heard in the church 
but sobs and cries. And so die sermon ended without hav- 
ing b^gun. 



22. As one friend often visits another, going to bid him good^mon* 
ing and good-night, and looking in upon him at times during thedqf;! ^ 
so should you often yisit Jesus in His Sacrament, and offer HiiiHl>| i 
cious blood many times in each visit to the Eternal Father, and yn 
will see that your love will increase marvellously by these visiti.- 
8t M. M, di Ptmi. |ic 

St. Francis Borgia made seven such visits daily , ^\^. 
acquired by them such familiar affection that on enteriogily 
diurch he could tell by the sense of smell where the Bleaeei If 
Sacrament was. V 

Every time St. John Serchmans went out to take a walk, 
he was qareful to visit some churchy whether it was a tuns 
of Exposition in it or not. On such occasions^ his recoUeo- 
tion was so profound that he did not notice when his com- 
panion arose to go out^ so that the latter was often obliged to 
come back from the church-door and arouse him^ and evea 
call him aloud by name, so great was his abstraction. 

St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi visited the Blessed Sacrament 
thirty-three times a day, to her great happiness and advan- 
tage ; and St. Wenceslaus, Duke of Bohemia, used to pay 
visits to the churches bare-footed, by night, through sno^ 
and ice, so that the pavements were stained with his bloocL 

St. Vincent de Paul made visits as often as he was able, 
and the rest that lie took from his grave occupations con- 
sisted in staying, sometimes for hours, before the sacred 
Tabernacle. He remained there with an aspect so humble, 
that it seemed as if he would willingly have sunk to the 
centre of the earth, and with an exterior as modest and de- 
vout as if he were beholding the person of Je-^us Christ 
with his own eyes, so that he inspired with «levotion all who 
beheld him. When he had difficult business to transact, 
he had recourse, like Moses, to the sacred Tabernacle, to 
consult the oracle of truth. On leaving his house, he went 
to the chapel to aek aVi\es«fli^, ^xA QQL>Kv&x^xxr£^tft ^ve 


thanks for the graces received^ and to humble himself for 
the faults he had perhaps committed. He did this not as 
a matter of form, but with true religious feeling. 

88. We must not neglect to exercise ounelyes in self -knowledge, 
for this is of great importance in the contemplatiy« way. But this 
should be done with due regard to time and measure. I mean, that 
after a soul has yielded and surrendered itself, and clearly under- 
stands, that of itself it has no good thing, and is ashamed and con- 
founded to stand before so great a King, and sees how little it re- 
turns for so many gift8,-r-what necessity is there, under these drcum- 
stances, to occupy it, and make it spend more time, in this ? We 
must let it pass to other things which the Lord places before it, so 
that it may come forth from itself, and fly to consider the greatness 
of its God.— iSr. Teresa, 

From the time St. Francis Borgia first applied himself 
to prayer, he spent two hours every morning in self-exam- 
ination. By this he arrived at so humble an opinion of 
himself, that he was astonished that eveiy one did not treat 
him with contempt. 

St. Bonaventure tells of St. Francis that he used to pass 
whole days and nights in this brief prayer : '^ My Lord 
and my God, who art Thou, aud who am I ?" and on such 
occasions he was often seen to be lifted from the ground, 
and surrounded by a bright halo. 

A story is told in the Lives of the Fathers, of a young 
monk, who said to an old one : ' ^ Father, my heart tells 
me that I am good.'' But the old man answered : ^* Who- 
ever does not see his sins, always thinks himself good ; but 
when one sees them, his heart cannot persuade him of any 
such thing. It is necessary, then, to strive to know our- 

We read of the Abbot Isidore that one of his disciples 
entered his cell one day, and finding him in tears, asked 
the cause. " I am weeping," he answered, *^ for my sins*'' 


*^ Biitf Father^ yoa have no sins," said the disciple. '^ My 
son,'' returned the Abbot, '^ if God should reveal my ang 
to men, the world would be filled with terror.'' 

A vision recorded by the venerable Sister Maria Cmci- 
fixa, is well adapted to illustrate this point '^ It was per- 
mitted me to eiiter/^ she writes, '^ by a spiritual gluioe, 
intothe most secret recessesof the humanheart Iwasamased 
at the sight of wonders of human ugliness and deformity, as 
I was shown the birth-place of sin. It appeared like a 
horrible subterranean cavern, wherein swarmed con- 
stantly vast troops of animiils and insects, great and smsill, 
all frightful and loathsome. These typified mortal and 
venial sins and imperfections. By this terrible sight, I pene- 
trated the deep abyss of knowledge of myself and of my ex- 
treme misery, so that I perceived myself to be deserving only 
of scorn and ignominy, for I appeared like a mass of black 
and greasy soot, like foul and corrupt refuse, or an ugly and 
dangerous monster, which no one could behold without tak- 
ing to flight'^ She had this vision on the day of her profes- 
sion, and this sight of herself made so strong an impres- 
sion upon her soul, that it lasted a whole year. All this 
time she believed that her companions saw her as she saw 
herself, and was astonished at their self-control and virtue, 
and could not understand why they did not all abhor and fly 
from her. " I would willingly have buried myself alive," 
she writes, '^ if I could thus have hidden from their eyes 
my intolerable appearance. Therefore, when I received 
wrongs and insults, I thought they rather praised and hon- 
ored me, for I &lt that they were treating me better than 
I deserved, and it was impossible for me to think other- 
wise. So that if they had told me that I was ugly, stupid, 
without talent or wit, I should certainly have wondered 
and said : ^ Oh how \i\^<& ^ow know of my miaeries t 


I am insufferable in the eyes of God by my extreme destitu*' 
tion, and you wonder that I am not rich in good qualities ! 
What would a b^gar do^ who, whiie barely covered with 
rags, should hear himself reproved for not having a gold 
chain and a badge of knighthood ? What would he do on 
hearing such reproofe ? Instead of being angry, he would 
be amazed, and would say : I have not so much as a shirt, 
and yon wouder that I am without a gold chain and a 
badge I In charity, give me a bit of bread, for I have noth- 
ing to do with chains and badges.' ^* 

2i. The great work of our perfection is bom, grows, and main- 
tains its life by means of two small but precious exercises, — aspirations 
and spiritual retirement. An aspiration is a certain springing 
of the soul towards God, and the more simple it is, the more val- 
uable. It consists in simply beholding what He is, and what He has 
done and is doing for us ; and it should excite the heart, as a con- 
•equenoe, to acts of humility, love, resignation, or abandonment, 
according to circumstances. Now, these two exercises have an in- 
credible power to keep us incur duty, to support us in temptation, to 
lif I us up promptly after falls, and to unite us closely to Gk>d. Besid^, 
they can be made at any time or place, and with all possible ease ; 
therefore, they ouji:ht to be as familiar to us as the inspiration and ex- 
piration of air from our lungs.— iS^. F. de Sales. 

Every time that the clock struck, St. Ignatius collected 
his thoughts, and raised his soul to God. 

Though he might happen to be in the company of men of 
rank, 8t. Vincent de Paul always uncovered his head when 
the clock struck, and raised some devout aspiration to 
heaven. At other times, he often uttered some devout ejacu- 
lation or aspiration, most frequently this one : " O my 
Lord I O divine Goodness ! when wilt Thou give me the 
grace to be entirely Thine, and to love only Thee ?" 

St. Bartholomew the Apostle adored God by making a 
hundred genuflections each day, and as many \u ^^ xS^^jgc^ 


St Thomas of Aquin used this kind of prayer masy 
times a day, — when he was at Mass^ when he was studying; 
when he left his oell or returned to it^ and at all odd mo- 

Gasslan says that the monks of Egjrpt firequently employed 
this brief ejaculation, which is full of humility and con- 
fidence : '^ Deu8, in adjuUniammeumifilende. Damine, ai 
adjuvandum me fesUna** — O God, incline unto mine aid 
O Lord, make haste to help me. 

Monseigneur de Palafox, the Bishop, practised it on all 
occasions. When anything seemed doubtfiil, he turned to 
God and said, ^' O Lord, what shall we do in this matter 7 
counsel me, guide me Thyself, in danger. O Lord, rule me ; 
let me not be presumptuous, but humble ; do not permit me 
to stray a hair's breadth fix)m what pleases Thee.'' When 
through human frailty he fell into some fisiult, or said or 
did some thing that was not suitable, he would say, '' O 
Lord, raise me up ! What is this, O Lord ? Is it possible 
that I am to be always the same? Hold me, that I may 
hold to Thee !" Often, too, he would say in his heart : '* I 
desire nothing, I wish for nothing, I ding to nothing, except 
Thyself, my God and my All ! Glory ? it is Thine, and I 
seek it only for Thee ! Honor ? all my honor, my Jesus, is 
Thy honor. Satis&ction ? my only satisfisLction and pleas- 
ure is that Thou art satisfied and pleased ;" and so on. 

25. It is a great help to humility to accustom ourselyes to dxtw 
from aU things reflections suited to raise our hearts to God, bj be- 
holding in them all His perfections, or else the love He bean ns, 
and our obligation to serve Him faithfully.— iSbupotil 

Such was the pi'actioe of St. Francis de Sales. On be- 
holding a beautiful landscape, he would say, " We are fields 
cultivated by God." 1? Vi^ «a.^ magiifioent and richly- 


adorned churches, — " WearethelivingtemplesofGrod; then 
why are our souls not as well adorned with virtues Y' If he 
looked at flowers, — ^' When will tlie time come that our 
flowers shall change into fruit T^ If he saw rare and 
valuable pictures, — ^^ Nothing is as beautiful as the soul 
made in the image of God.'' If he walked in a gatdeuy 
— " When will that of our soul be dotted with flowers, filled 
with fruit, well arranged, and fi*ee from dust and rubbish ?" 
If he came to a fountain, — " Oh, when shall we drink our 
fill from the fountains of the Savior ?'' If to rivers, — 
^When shall we goto Grod, as these waters do to the sea?'' 
Thus he made use of all visible things to raise his soul to 

96. There it a certain method of prayer which is both Tery etsy 
aod very usefiil. It consists in accustoming our soul to the presence 
of Qod, in such a way as to produce in us a union with Him which 
it intimate, simple, and perfect Oh what a precious kind of prayer 
it thit l-St. F. de SaUi. 

In all his actions and exercises, Busbruchio kept his mind 
elevated to Ood, so that, he confessed, he had obtained 
from the Lord this special favor, that he could without dif- 
ficulty immerse himself at will in a most sweet contempla- 
tion of the Divinity, whether he was alone in his room, or 
abroad in company with others. 

St. Aloysius Gonzaga found nothing easier than to keep 
his mind constantly united to Gt)d, so that he had as much 
difficulty in turning his thoughts from Him, as others have 
in keeping them fixed in that direction. 

87. If we persist in walking for a year in the presence of God, at 
the end of the year we shall find that we have reached unconsciously 
the summit of perfection.— iSit. Terua, 

It is narrated in the Lives of the Fathers, that a holy 
Abbot instructed one of his novioea ilhat \i<btitiQ^\i2A\a^^ 

304 A YBAB WITH TH£ flAIKn. 

care never to lose sight of Qod^ and think of Him as alvajt 
present. '^ For/' said he^ '' this is the rale of rules, and 
the one which the Lord taught to Abraham, when He said, 
*' Ambula coram Me, et edo perfectus^' — ^Walk before Me, 
and be perfect. This was so impressed on the mind of 
the young man, that he practised it wonderfully well ; and 
from the reckless youth that he was, he became a monk so 
perfect, that when he died, a few years afler, he was seen to 
fly directly, and with great glory^ into heaven. 

28. The greater part of the faults which Religious commit agtinflS 
their Rules, aod in all the exercises of piety, arise from esaily kdns 
sight of the presence of Qod.-'St. F. de ScUei. 

It is said of St. John Berchmans that he never lost sigbt 
of the presence of God, that he practised it with rare fiu:ii- 
ity and naturalness, and, what is more wonderful, he was 
free from absence of mind, so that he was always attentive 
to whatever he was doing, and ready and prompt to assist 
others. He performed his spiritual exercises, too, with so 
much devotion, that he was never seen to transgress the 
smallest of his Rules, nor conunit a &ult of any kind. 

29. There is a certain method of practising the presence of God, 
by which, if the soul chooses, she may remain always in prayer, and 
constantly enkindled and inflamed with the love of God. This con* 
sists in realizing, in the midst of our occupations, that we are doing 
the will of God in each, and in rejoicing and being glad that it is so. 
— Bodriguet, 

St. Francis de Sales, for many years before his death, had 
scarcely any time for prayer, as he was overwhelmed with 
other occupations. One day, St. Jane Frances de Chantal 
asked him whether he had made his meditation. '* No,^' he 
replied, ^' but I am doing what is worth as much.'' In 
&ct, he endeavored to Viee^ Y^^xc^i ^utinually united with 

8£PT£MBEB.— PEAYBB. 306 

Grod^ and lie used to say that in this world we must make 
a prayer of works and activities. Thus, his life was a con- 
tinual prayer, for he did not content himself with merely 
enjoying a delicious union with Qod in prayer, but equally 
loved to do His will. 

80. The highest and most perfect prayer is contemplation. But 
this is altogether the work of God, as it is supernatural and above 
our powers. The soul can only prepare itself for this prayer, and 
can do nothing In it. The best preparation is to lire humbly, and to 
giye ourselves in earnest to the acquisition of virtues, and especially, 
of fraternal charity and the love of God ; to have a firm resolution 
to do the will of God in all things ; to walk in the way of the cross, 
and to descroy self-love, which is a wish, on our part, to please our- 
selves rather than Qod.— St. Teresa. 

This Saint fulfilled all this with great perfection, and for 
that reason she was endowed with such lofty contempla- 
tion and rare gifts. 

When St. Anthony the Abbot was asked how he could 
pass whole nights in prayer, he answered : " I never knew 
in what true contemplation consists as long as I had regard 
to myself. But when I succeeded in purifying my mind 
from every disorderly motion, and separating my heart from 
every earthly affection, then I began to enjoy that admi- 
rable fruit of the Divine will, which purified souls are wont 
to taste in contemplation.^' 

The following words came from a soul that had received 
much light : " I know by experience that to learn mys- 
tic theology, it is more useful to study the crucifix than 
books ; that is, instead of occupying ourselves with much 
reading, we ought to labor in the practice of virtue, in the 
imitation of Jesus Clirist, in attention to purity of life, to 
prayer, and to fidelity i» doing and suffering whatever 
God requires of us, as well as in dying to ourselves*'' 



JbM mo wbiioam ium—BehM I am with pou^^MnU., xxriU : Id 

1. As the omnipotence of Qod it infinite, nothing It impoeilUe to 
Him ; m Hii wisdom is infinite, nothing is difficult to Him ; as Hii 
goodness is immeasurable. He has an infinite desire for oar well* 
being. Now, should this not be enough to make us repuae all our 
confidence in Him I^Seupoli. 

This thought must have taken strong hold of a certain 
servant of Qod in Rome, who, as it is recorded^ onoe ad- 
dressed this prayer to Him : ^^ O Lord ! I desire that 
there may be do delay ; think of the matter Thyself, fori 
mean to be heard. Thou art my Father, and if Thou wilt 
not do this for me, there is no one else who can do it. Con- 
sider, if through the merits of Thy Christ I do not deserve 
it, do not grant it, and I will be coutent.'' 

St. Francis de Sales was filled with so much oonfidence 
in God, that he was in perfect tranquillity amid the great- 
est disasters ; for he could not persuade liimself, as he often 
said, that any one who trusts in a Providence infinite in 
all respects, has not cause to hope for a good result firom 
whatever it permits to happen to him. 

The Lord once appeared to St. Gertrude, and said to her : 
" When any one has complete confidence in Me, and be- 
lieves that I have the power, the wisdom, and the desire to 
aid him on all occasions, this ravishes My heart, and does 
Me such violence, that I cannot help favoring such a soul, 
on account of the pVesAxixe 1 cx^jcd^acfc \\l seeing it so 



dependent uponMe, and to satisfy the great love I bear to 

3. God certainly desires oar greatest good more than we onrselTei 
desire it. fie knows better than we by what way it can come to us ; 
and the choice of ways is wholly in His hands, as it is He who goT- 
ems and r^galatea all that occurs in the world. It is, then, most cer- 
tain that in all chances that can befall, whateyer msy happen, wOl 
always be best for us. — 8t. Augtutine. 

St. Francis de Sales, knowing that all events socoeed one 
another according to the disposal of Divine Providence, rested 
npon it more tranquilly than an in£mt apon its mother's 
bosom. He said that the Lord had taught him tliis lesson 
even 6rom his youth, and that if he were to b^in life again, 
he would despise worldly prudence more than ever, andal* 
low himself to be governed entirely by Divine Providence. 

8. Do you desire security ? Here you have it. The Lord says to 
tbae, " I will neyer abandon thee, I will always be with thee I" If a 
good man made you such a promise, yon would trust him. God makes 
it, and do you doubt ? Do you seek a support more sure than the word 
of God, which is infallible ? Surely, He has made the promise. He 
has written it. He has pledged His word for it, it is most certfdn.— 5^ 

It 18 related in the Life of St Rose of Lima, that she had 
inherited from her mother, who was very timorous and ap- 
prehensive of danger, such great timidity that she did not 
dare, in the night, to go from one room in the house to an- 
other without a candle, except for prayer, for the sake of 
which she conquered every terror. One evening, she lin- 
gered longer than usual in the little arbor which had been 
built for her oratory in the garden. Her mother, afraid 
that some harm might have come to her, resolved to go in 
search of her ; but not having courage to go alone, she 
asked her husband to accompany her. ^Tliveii "QU^^ ^isk^ 


them, she immediatelj ended her prayer, and went to meet 
them; then excusing lierself for her tardiness^ she went 
back with them to the house. But on the way^ she began 
to say to herself : ** How is this ? My mother, who is as 
timid as 1, ieels sate in the company of her husband. And 
am I afraid, accompanied by my Spouse, who without ever 
leaving me, is continually at my side and in my heart I" 
This reflection made such an impression on her mind that 
it banished every terror, so that, from that time, she was 
no longer afraid of anything ; and in any appearance of 
danger, she would say : '^ Non timebo mala, quoniam Ta me- 
cum €8" — I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. 

Surius relates of St. Hugo, Bishop of Lincoln, that he 
was, one night, grieved and disturbed by the thought of a 
disaster, which he believed to be impending. Then, re- 
collecting himself, he smote his breast, and said : ^' Wretch 
that thou art ! God has promised to aid us in all tribula- 
tions, and art thou afrtiid of anything that may happen ?" 

4. We are firmly conTinced that the truths of faith cannot decern 
us, and yet we cannot bring ourselves to trust to them ; nay, we 
are far more ready to trust to human reasonings and the deceitful 
appearance of this world. This, then, is the cause of our alight pro- 
gress in virtue, and of our small success in what concerns the glory of 
God.—flSC. F. <fo Paul 

St. Anthony and St. Francis arrived at the highest per- 
fection only by confiding obedience to these words of 
the Gospel : ^* If thou wilt be perfect, sell what thou hast, 
give to the poor, and then follow Me.'* 

6. Both for our own profit and the salvation of others, it is ah- 

solutely necessary to follow in everything the bright light of faith. 

which is accompanied by a certain unction secretly diffused in our 

iiearts. Truly, there is nothing but eternal truth capable of filling our 

hoartB and leading ub In a Bale ^^V\i \ ^^^s^^ \aft« Vu\% «^^ui^h to bo 

OCfrOBEB.-— OOKFIBEKck. 309 

wen establisbed upon this divine foandation, to be sure of quickly 
reaching perfection, and being able to do great things.— iSit. V. d§ 

St. Philip Neri always pre&oed any basinees of im- 
portanoe by prayer, by means of which he acquired such 
great confidence in Grod, that he used to say : '^ As I have 
time for prayer, I have sure hope of obtaining from the 
Lord whatever grace I ask of Him ; for I rest entirely 
upon the promise of the Lord, that we shall receive what- 
ever we ask in prayer with lively faith/' 

It is told of St. Francis that his brother, seeing him 
barefooted and thinly clothed in the depth of winter, sent 
a boy to ask him, in mockery, to sell him a drop of his 
sweat. The Saint replied joyously : " Tell my brother 
that I have already sold it all to my Grod and Lord, and 
at a very good price.'* 

Father d'Avila took a vow of poverty, that he might 
preach the Grospel more freely, and said that he found great 
support in this promise of Christ : ^^Qiuerite primum reg^ 
num Dei et hceo omnia adjidentur voM^ — Seek the king- 
dom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you, — 
for it had never deceived him. 

6. O Lord of my soul, who can find words to tell what Thou giv- 
€8t to those whci trust in Thee, and how much, on the other hand 
those lose, who, though they may have attained to ecstasies and 
rapture, yet conflde in themselves \^8t. Teresa. 

This Saint said she had known persons eminent in vir- 
tue, and who had even attained to the prayer of union, who 
afterwards fell into the power of the demon, because of 
their overweening self-confidence. For, when the soul sees 
herself so near to God, and perceives the vast difference be- 
tween the good things of heaven and tkoei^ oi e^x^^vsA 


experienoeft the great love the Lord manifests for her^ there 
springs np from these fitvors such security of nevermore 
fidling fix)m the happiness she enjoys, that it seems to her 
impossible that so delightful a life should ever be exchanged 
for the baseness of sensual deliglits. With this confidenoe, 
she b^insto expose herself to labors and dangers, withoat 
discretion or r^ard to proportion, not considering that she 
is not yet in condition to leave the nest and fly, as her vir- 
tues are not confirmed, and she has no experience of dan- 

7. To rely upon our own talents is a cause of great loss For, 
when a Superior, a preacher, or a confessor, places confidence In bis 
own prudence, knowledge, and intelligence, Qod, lo make liim know 
and see his insufficiency, withdraws from him His help, and leases 
him to work by himself. Whence it happens that all his plans and 
labors produce little or no fruit. This is often the cause why our 
undertakings fail.— i8!(. F. de Patd. 


This is clearly seen in the crossing of the Bed Sea by 
the Israelites and the Egyptians. The former placed all 
their confidence in God, and crossed successfully. The 
latter placed theirs in their horses, and were drowned. 

St. Francis de Sales managed all the affairs that God en- 
trusted to him, with success. The cause of this was that 
he trusted never to his own ability, but whoUy to Divine 
Providence ; and he never hoped to succeed in a business 
if he had any other reliance than this. 

St. Philip Neri used to say : " If a person voluntarily 
puts himself in the way of sin, saying, ^ I shall not fall, I 
shall not commit it,' it is an almost certain sign that he will 
fell to the ruin of his soul.'' 

8. Let us endeavor to conceive a very great diffidence of our- 
selves, and to establish ourselves firmly in this virtue ; for, of our- 
selves we are good tot noU^^, c^x^^^x. \.q %v^U tke aosigns of 


€k>d. This will keep us in entire dependence upon His guidance. 
and make us have recourse constantly to His help. — St, V. de PauL 

The venerable Father Daponte said of himself, that those 
tilings that frequently furnish a motive for dejection, such 
as human frailty, or one's own weakness and sins, rather 
produced in him a greater confidence, for he fixed his eyes 
upon the goodness and mercy of God, to whom he had en- 
tirely committed himself and his interests. 

St. Vincent, King of Bohemia, was asked how he felt 
when his army had been routed, and he himself had been 
taken prisoner. He replied : " I never felt more encour- 
aged than I do now. When I was well provided with hu- 
man aids, I had not time to think of God. Now that I 
am quite destitute of them all, I think only of God, and 
that He will not abandon me.'' 

St. Philip Neri exhorted his penitents to follow his ex- 
ample in sometimes saying to God : '' O Lord, do not leave 
anything to me, for if Thou help me not, I shall surely 
fiul ;" or, " O Lord, expect nothing from me !" He also 
said that in speaking of future contingencies, we ought 
never to say, " I shall do," or '* I shall say ;" but rather, 
with humility, " I know what I ought to do or say, but I 
do not know what I shall do or say." 

9. Be careful not to depend or rely much upon the friendship and 
protection of men. For they cannot sustain us by themselves ; and 
when the Lord sees us leaning upon them, He withdraws from us. 
— «. V.dePauL 

This holy man not only refrained from seeking human 
support, but even refused it when spontaneously offered to 
him. One day, the governor of a city asked his influence 
at court, in &vor of a certain affair, and promised that he 
would in return protect his mis8ionarve!& «;gaSafii\i ^sip} ^^^ 


might molest them. Bat the Saint made this reply: 
" Whenever I can do it with jastioe, I will serve you will- 
ingly. As for the interests of my Congr^tion, I beg yon 
to leave them in the hands of God and justice." It was a 
rule with him not to seek anything by the influence and 
&vor of men. 

St. Jane Frances de Chantal was of the same opinion. 
Her brother, the Archbishop of Bruges, once wrote to her 
that in an interview he had just had with the Queen of 
France, she showed a desire for her prayers and those 
of her Order. He urged her, therefore, to write to the 
queen, who, he said, would be much pleased with the at- 
tention. The same advice was given iier by many persons, 
both inside and outside of the convent ; but she would not 
receive it, and wrote to her brother a letter of excuse, b^- 
ging him to assure the queen that she and all her nuns 
would not &il to recommend her to the Lord. She spoke 
of the matter in this way to her Religious : *^ I cannot and 
must not do it, for we ought to keep ourselves too much 
abased and hidden, to seek by human invention to retain 
a place in the hearts of the great. If we study to do our 
duty in regard to them before God, by praying for their 
safety, their prosperity, and, above all, their salvation ; God, 
who has undertaken the charge of us, will bring us to their 
minds when we need their help, and will incline their 
hearts towards us." 

St. Teresa once said : " I am very sure that there is no 
safety in relyii)g upon men ; for they are all like so many 
stalks of dried rosemary — they break under the least weight 
of disappointment or contradiction. The true friend in 
whom alone we can trust, is Jesus Christ. When I rely 
upon Him, I am conscious of such power, that I feel able 
to jresist the whole wot\d, Yret^\\»oYe^«ft^^ft\afe'' 


10. Whoeyer manages his affairs with artifices and subterfuges, 
offends the providence of Gk>d, and renders himself unworthy of 
His paternal care.— /S^. F. de Paul, 

This glorious Saint kept always at a distance from all 
artifice in everything he said and did, and left scheming, as 
he often said, to the prudent of this world. 

The same is true of St. Thomas, St. Bonaventure, St. 
Charles, St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi, Sister Maria Cruci- 
fiza, and others, as we have elsewhere shown. AH of 
these prospered in their affairs, and were much esteemed and 
&vored for their frankness, not only by God, but also by 

11. When one puts all his care on €k>d, and rests wholly upon 
Him, being careful, meanwhile, to serve Him faithfully, Ood ts^es 
care of him ; and the greater the confidence of such a one, the more 
the care of God extends over him ; neither is there any danger of 
its failing, for God has an infinite love for those souls that repose in 
Him.— iSS^. F. dA Sales, 

The same thing was once said by our Lord to St. Cath- 
erine of Sienna : " Think of Me, and I will think of you, 
and take care of all your interests." 

St. Hugo, the Bishop, said that it was his experience that 
the more he attended to performing well and diligently all 
that pertained to the worship of God, the more God pro- 
vided for him in all necessary things. 

More than any other, St. Francis manifested, and still 
manifests, this truth, by the wonderful protection of Divine 
Providence which he experienced, and which sustains his 
sons even to this day. And so, the Viaticum which he gave 
his companions when they were going to a distance, was 
this verse of the Psalms : Jacta super DominxMtk curam 
itfaf/fj ei ipse te envtHet — Cast thy care upon VVv^\iWt^^ "mA 


He will sustain thee. And when iihe Popeasked him about 
his means of livings he replied: ^' Holy Father, we have a ', 
mother truly poor^ but a very rich Father/' 

Taulerus relates that a servant of Gkxi, being often asked, 
by various persons to pray for different objects^ promised 
to do so, but sometimes forgot, and in such cases these 
people* always obtained what they desired, and came back 
to thank her. Astonished at this, she said, one day, to the 
Lord : ^' How is it, O Lord, that Thou grantest these &vo» 
which I never asked ?'' And the Lord replied : '^ See, My 
daughter, on the day you gave Me your will, I gave yoa 
Mine, so that sometimes if you do not ask for a particular 
thing that I know you would be pleased with, I do it as 
if you had asked Me/' 

12. WboeTer serves God with a pure heart, and, setting aside 
aU individual and human interests, seeks only His glory, has reaioa 
to hope for success in all he does, and especially under circumstances, 
when, according to human Judgment, there is no help ; for the di- 
vine works are above the sight of human prudence, and depend 
upon a loftier principle. — 8t. Okaries Barronua. 

This holy Cardinal was accustomed to have recourse to 
Qod in all his affairs, and commenced, continued, and com- 
pleted all his undertakings with prayer. The more arduous 
and important anything was, the more prayer he gave to it 
And if it happened that something appeared not only dif- 
ficult but even hopeless, he did not recoil in the least, but 
urged himself fonvard with greater spirit and redoubled 
prayers. It was thus that he succeeded, to the wonder of 
all, in so many great affairs, that seemed to human judg- 
ment impossible. The Saint was once talking with a per- 
son of rank, whom he was trying to persuade to have con- 
£denoe in God in all circumstances, because He never aban- 
4om, even in the sma^lea^ \5cLYa^>^QRfc Vto Y^^^^ci^^ tru^t 


In Him ; and by way of proof^ he related the following in- 

cddent, which had happened to him a little while before. He 

aiud that his house-steward complained of being without 

money, and did not know how to provide for the urgent 

seeds of the house, and therefore requested him to be more 

sparing in alms and pious works, as it was by expenditure 

of that kind that the house was reduced to such extremity. 

But he replied only that he ought to trust in God, and hope 

for help from His Divine Majesty. This advice &iled to 

satisfy him, and he went away much discontented. Within 

two hours, there arrived a bundle of letters, among which 

was a bill of exchange lor three thousand crowns remitted 

to tiie Saint, from Spain. Sending for the steward, he gave 

them to him, and said : '^ Take them, O thou of little faith I 

Behold I the Lord has not abandoned us.'' He added that 

this was truly a work of Divine Providence, for he was not 

expecting such a remittance, nor should it have been sent 

unti'l two months later. 

We read also in the process of his canonization, that at 
the time of the great conflicts with the king's ministers on 
the question of jurisdiction, and on account of the ex- 
communications fulminated against them, the Governor of 
Milan, with some of the secret council opposed to the Car- 
dinal, often thought of taking rigorous measures against his 
person, as they knew no other way to hinder him from de» 
fending the rights of his Church. But every time that they 
assembled in the king's council to settle upon something, the 
thoughts changed in their minds, and the words upon their 
lips, so that they could come to no resolution against him. 
They themselves were bewildered and greatly amazed at 
this, not knowing to what they should ascribe their change 
of purpose. But doubtless it was the result of his ^;eat 
oonSdenoe m Ood, in reward of wbidi CSroSiW^Bfii^. ^>aai^ ^ 

316 A YEAB WITH THB gAnrtB. 

enterprises, removed all obstacles^ and brouglit tbem to a 
happy ending. It ought^ however, to be noticed, as the 
writer of the Life well observes, that this confidence of the 
Saint was altogether r^nlated by Christian prudence. He 
was most watchinl in keeping himself fix)m the vicious ex- 
treme of presumption. He never exposed himself to un- 
neoeaaary dangers, or entertained extravagant plans, of Uttle 
advantage to the service of God, and not weighed deliber- 
ately and wisely. He employed due diligence and preoan- 
tion, and on certain occasions, he did not refuse human aid, not 
taking it, however, as his chief reliance, but in subordina- 
tion to Divine Providence. All this is clearly to be seen in 
the prudent r^ulations that he made when the city of Milan 
was desolated by the plague, and on a thousand other well- 
knowu occasions. 

18. The pressure of necessity gives occasion to stiow whether we 
truly trust in God. ' Believe me, three strokes will do more than 
ten ordinarily, if €kxl puts His hand to the work ; and he always 
does when He takes away human help, and bhligea .us to perform 
work above our strength. — St, Y, de Paul. 

When this Saint was once told by his house-steward that 
he had not a sou for daily expenses without considering 
the special ones for approaching ordinations, he replied with 
a tranquil heart and cheeriul 'face,' full of confidence 
in God : " What good news ! Blessed be God ! » ^Now is 
the time to show whether we trust in Him. Oh, how in- 
finite are the treasures of Divine Providence, which we dis- 
honor by our want of trust !" 

King Josaphat, finding himself assailed by a great num- 
ber of enemies, turned to his men, and said : " We have no 
power to resist so many ; let us, then, raise our eyes to Gkxl, 
and trust in Him, and all will be well mth us.'* And soj^ip- 
deed, it was. 


14. If a diy stick coald possess humility and self -annihilation, 
and then be chosen to office, Ood would give it sensitive and in* 
telligent life, rather than permit His servants to be without good gov- 
eminent.— «ft. /. F, ds ChantdL 

The story of the Blessed Berengaria, a Poor Clare, fup- 
niflhes an illustration of this. She lived for a long time in 
a Portuguese oonvent, employed in the lowest offices in the 
kitchen ; for, on account of her love of humility, she made 
herself api)ear like a peasant and a half-idiot, so that she 
had become the laughingnstock of the Sisters, and was con- 
sidered t^t for anything but the meanest position in the 
Order. After a time, the Abbess died, and all the nuns 
assembled to choose a successor. They had no decided pref- 
erence for any of their number, and thought the first ballot 
would show who was most likely to obtain the place. 
Each of them, therefore, without informing any one else, 
gave her vote to Berengaria, considering that this would 
a£^rd her the desired opportunity, as she was sure not to 
be chosen. And so, when the Father presiding at the cere- 
mony had received and read the folded ballots of the nuns, 
he found that Berengaria had been legally elected. There- 
fore, he bade her, in the name of God, take the seat of the 
Superioress, to receive from the others, according to cus- 
tr>m, the first token of homage. The humble maiden was 
constrained, though with very great repugnance, to take 
this position. But still greater repugnance was felt on the 
part of the nuns, who murmured against such an unex- 
pected election, and refused to recognize as their Superior 
one who was quite inexperienced, and wholly unfit, for such 
an office. Seeing this, the new Abbess, interiorly moved 
by the Holy Spirit, turned towards the tomb, there placed 
in the centre of the chapter-house, and called upon the dead 
nuns to rise and render her the pxe&cn\)e^ \k»iisAsg^ Ni:^ 

'• « 

J.I. ia 


<f. .-. 



takid reasonable and moderate care, and then leave ereryihing com- 
-/ pleiely and entirely to the disposal and guidance of Divine Provl- 
^ deiioe» giving it scope to arrange matters for its own ends, and to 
9 flMuiifest to us God's will. For, we may consider it certain that when 

Ctod wills that an affair should succeed, delay does not spoil it ; and 
^ the greater part He takes in it, the less will be left for us to do. — 
r J» Paul. 

Before making use of human means, though honorable 
and necessary, it was the usual custom of this Saint to have 
reoonrse to the Divine, and while recommending the matter 
to God, he would remain quiet and wait until God should give 
it an impulse to His own ends, and for His greater glory. 
He used to say that Providence gives good success to the 
^ans of those who are willing to follow it, and not run in 




> advance of it. For example, when many charitable ladies 
importuned him to search for some young girls with whom 
he might lay the foundation of his Congr^ation of the 
Sisters of Charity, and he found it difficult to meet with 
suitable ones, he was not at all discouraged, but contented 
himself with having recoui*se to God in prayer, and waiting 
until His Providence should deign to reveal to Him some 
mediod of providing for this need. 

17. So much earnestness and trouble in seeking means and helps 
lo fortify ourselves in advance against the accidents of this life, and 
lo remedy its ills^ is a great failure in confidence towards Ood. For 
by this going in advance of the order of His providence, we show 
that we trust more in our own devices than in His holy guidance, 
and that we rest more upon human prudence, than upon His holy 
word.— /». F. d$ Paul, 

Whtn Father Alvarez was rector of a poor college, he 
had a steward who often came to tell him of the daily 
wantS| and what was necessary to support the house. Once 
he asked him whether he had recommended the matter to 
God. The stew^ replied tbjit U^ UaA W \ax!5^^^ ^"^ 



*' This," rejoined the good Superior, '* ought to be the first 
thing. Go into some room, and make a little prayer to the 
Lord. Do you think this flock has no master, or such a 
one as has no r^ard for their lives ? Go in peace, and re- 
member that this depends not on your efforts. '^ The 
steward obeyed, and often afterwards found means of sup- 
port which he considered miraculous. 

IS. Wbeo the will of God is clearly seen in any affair, no matter 
how difficult, it shoald be undertaken with intrepidity, and pursued 
with constancy even to the end, however many and great may be 
the obstacles which oppose it. For the providence of God never 
fails those things that are undertaken by His order. — Si. F. de Pa/vL 

When this Saint had begun an undertaking and felt sure 
that it was the will of God, he never abandoned it, for any 
opposition that might intervene. Instead of becoming dis- 
heartened, he only showed the greatest constancy and reM>- 
lution, the more he was harassed and op|)Osed by creatures. 

Wlien St. Charles had weighed any enterprise he was 
about to commence, prudently and maturely, and judge4 it 
good for the service of God, though it might seem to others 
sure to fail, he began and prosecuted it with great courage, 
and always with success. 

St. Francis de Sales says that St. Jane Frances de Chan- 
tal showed a most courageous and generous soul in continu- 
ing undertakings with which God had inspired her. 

When St. Francis Xavier saw that the honor of Grod 
called him. he went without fearing diflficulties or dangers 
of any kind. And so he attempted nothing which he did 
not continue, and began nothing which he did not pursue 
to the end. 

IP. Let us put out confideiicft Vci Qi^» wi^ ^%N»WL\aXv ourselves in an 
entire dependence upon U\a v^oVv^viu^i^, TV^xi ^^ xvs«^ \i^ \mb. 


whmtever men can say or do against us, for all will turn to our good. 
liCay. were all the world to rise against us, nothing would come of 
it except what was plgising to God, in whom we have placed our 
hopes.— /8^. v. de Paul. 

One of his priests having written to this Saint that plans 
^ere on foot to sapplant his Congr^ation^ and that persons 
of infiaence were supporting these evil designs^ he gave this 
reply : ^^ Let us establish and settle ourselves firmly iu total 
dependence upon God's providenoe^ and then not allow our 
minds to be overshadowed by these useless apprehensions^ 
for nothing will happen contraiy to His holy will/' 

While St. Gregory the Bishop had gone down, one night, 
into the choir for Matins, some of his rivals placed a 
woman in his bed, and after the office made some excuse 
for accompanying him to his chamber. Then the woman, 
as had been preconcerted, began to ciy out and accuse the 
Bishop of sacril^e. By this be was disgraced through all 
the city, and condemned to imprisonment by the Pope. But 
CU)d took care of him; for, the holy Apostles Peter and 
Paul visited and consoled him in his f )rison, and he per- 
formed many miracles. The woman, meanwhile, was pos- 
sessed and tormented by the devil, until she appeared before 
a council of bishops, and revealed the plot. She was then 
cured by the Saint, the wicked accusers condemned to the 
severest penalties, the Bishop exonerated by the Pope, and 
his holiness publicly declared. 

20. Souls that are weak and too much attached to their own 
reputation, make a great stir and commotion, and can have no peace, 
if any calumny is spread against them. It is not thus with generouf 
souls who aim at nothing except to please God. They know very 
well that He sees their innocence, and has it at heart more than they 
themselves, and therefore He will not neglect to d^eiid them, m 
Dieir i^'eatest ^ood regulrefl,— /8if. AufiwAii^. 


In a letter to Monsignor Camus, St. Francis de ! 
says : '* I hear that they are all tearing me to piece 
Paris, bat I hope God will patch me up again as go< 
new, if it is necessary for His service. I dc not cv 
any more reputation than I need for this. For, pio\ 
Grod be served, what does it matter whether it be by j 
or evil report, by the exaltation or lowering of our iq 
tion ? Let Him dispose of my name and honor ag He 
since all is His. And if my abjection increases Hisg! 
ought I not to rejoice in being cast down?'' At am 
time, when an enormous calumny had been invented ag: 
him, his friends, seeing that he made no attempt to ju 
himself, said that he ought to do so, because his repute 
was most necessary to his ministry. But he told them 
the Lord knew how much credit he required for his mini 
and he did not wish for more. 

Bishop Palafox, having been accused of maladmiDi 
tion in his office, would not defend himself when ai 
amination into his methods was ordered, but lefl his < 
entirely in the hands of God, saying that He well kne 
good intentions, and that he expected to be defendc 
His providence as the glory of God required, who: 
desired to serve. And in this way he prospered. 

21. When any one reposes all his confidence in God. God ( 
ually exercises a special protection over him, and io this st 
things he can be assured that no evil will happen to him. — 8t. 

For this reason, St. Vincent de Paul was never cast 
or discouraged in all the afflictions, crosses, and vexa 
accidents whicli befell him or his priests ; but he rem 
always full of confidence in God, with a perfect eve 
of temper, and conaWxX. «Xi^xAo\«a^\!i^Vi\^vq\\\a Provic 


And^ what is more^ he rejoiced to find himself in such dij£- 
cnlties, as they gave him opportunity to exercise a more 
perfect^ absolute^ and total dependence on the Divine will. 
The Emperor Ferdinand II, hearing some remarks 
about the bad state of the times, said : ^^ Let us do our part, 
and then leave ourselves and our afiairs to the government 
of Grod, who will dispose everything well/' And when 
any disaster was feared, he would say, ^^ The Lord will pro- 

d2. When once we have placed ourselves totally in the hands of 
Qod, we have no cause to fear misfortune ; for, if any should come 
to U8, He will know how to make it turn to our good, by ways which 
we do not know now, but which, one day, we shall know.— ^. F. de 

Two singular events which happened, one to St. Francis 
de Sales, and the other to St. Ignatius Loyola, prove the 
truth of this statement. When a young secular, St. Francis 
once visited Rome, and returning, one evening, to an inn 
near the Tiber, where he lodged, he found his servants in 
a dispute with the landlord, who wished them to find some 
other house, as he hoped to receive more profit from another 
party, whose luggage he had already taken in, and for whom 
he wished to dispossess the holy baron. Nor would the quarrel 
have ended with angry words alone, If St. Francis, with his 
tisiial meekness, had not ordered his servants to do as the 
landlord wished. He agreed, then, to find another lodging, 
bnt scarcely had he done so, when a heavy rain swelled 
bhe Tiber, and made it overflow its banks, causing an in- 
ondation, which carried away the unhappy inn, and all its 
Docapants, so that not one escaped, nor was there a trace left 
of the building, which had been considered one of the best 
Df its kind in Rome. 

When 8t Igaatiua had arrived in Cy^^rx]^ oii\^ ics^sssci 


from vinting the holy plaoes, he found three veaBek raedf 
to soil for Italy. The first belonged to Turkey ; theaeoood 
vms a Venetian ship, strong and well equipped, and appsr- 
&ktly able to struggle suooessiully with the most fiuioQS 
gales; thethird was a little old boat, leaky and worm-eaten. 
Many urged the master of the Venetian ship to receive 
Ignatius on board for the love of G}od, praising him and 
extolling liim as a Saint. But when the man heard that 
Ignatius was poor and had no money for his passage, he 
answered that if Ignatius was a Sunt, he did not need a 
vessel to cross the sea, for he could go on foot, as so many 
other Saints had done. As he would not receive him, 1^ 
natius was obliged to take the old ship, where they wel- 
comed him freely and with much liberality. The three 
vessels set sail on the same day ; but after they were all well 
out at sea, in the darkness of the night a fierce tempest 
arose, in which the Turkish ship foundered with all its crew 
on board, the Venetian ran aground, her passengers barely 
escaping with their lives, and the old craft alone gained 
the port. We see in these two examples how the Lord 
gave His protection to two fiuthful servants, making a<^ 
even of the wickedness of men to expel one, and exclude 
the other, fix>m places doomed to disaster. 

It is true that Joseph and Job in the Old Testament sof- j 
fered great trials, but how incredibly greater were the ad- 
vantages they derived fix>m them ! 

28. When we find ourselves in any danger, even a grave one, we 
ought not to lose courage, but to trust much in the Lord ; for where 
the peril is greater, there also is greater aid from Him who choossi 
to be called the Helper in dangers and tribulations. — 8t. Amirom. 

St. Ignatius Loyola was once on board a ship in a severe 
stormy wheu the mast was broken off, and all were weeping 


md trembling in expectation of death. He alone was cheer- 
ftd and fearless^ remembering that the winds and sea 
obey Grod, and that without His permission, tempests rise 
not, neither can they sink any ship, and choosing for him- 
lelf whatever &te Qod might choose for him. 

S4. There are some who so cling to their confidence in God, that 
tbey cannot abandon it even in extreme cases which appear quite 
bopeless. Oh how dear they are (o God, and how much help they 
reoelTe from Uim ! 

The Emperor Ferdinand II once saw the whole North 
combined against him. But when he was informed of de- 
feats, and of the loss and devastation of provinces, he wad 
not at uU disturbed^ and answered always^ ^^ Grod will deliver 
me from this tempesf Nor was he mistaken^ for, when the 
case appeared desperate, he gained a signal victory, by which 
he discomfited all his enemies. 

What C( )uld be more desperate than the situation of Susanna, 
accused, condemned, and led out to death ? Yet she trusted 
in the Lord, and was set free. 

85. Whoever does not lose courage in unexpected difficulties, but 
immediately has recourse to God with confidence, shows that this 
rirtue is well rooted in his hefkri.— Bodriguez, 

We read in the Lives of the Fathers that St. Columban, 
itaiiding, one day, without any thought of danger, suddenly 
«w twelve wolves coming up to him. They surrounded 
lim, and finally began to nibble at his garments. He was 
lot, however, at all alarmed, and did nothing but invoke Qod 
n theee words : ** Deus, in adjutorium meum intende. Dom* 
'ne, adadjuvandum mefedinay^ upon which the wolves im- 
nediately fled. 

The Abbot Theodore was asked whether he should be 
iftttid if he heard on a sudden a loud crash and a terrible 


tumult. *' No ;'' he answered, " if the world should £sdlm 
ruins, and earth and sky be blended together, Theod(He 
would not be afraid.'* 

26. Tho confldence of tbe Christian soul rests in perfect abandon- 
ment to God, above and beyond every consideration of human pm* 
dence. Oh, what happiness to walk in this perfect dependence upon 
a sovereign providence, remaining continually under the Diviue pro- 
tection!— 5«. J, F. de Chantal. 

Such was the confidence of Abraham, who hoped th it his 
posterity would spread over the whole world, according to 
the Divine promise, though by the order of God Himself he 
should sacrifice to him the life of his only son at a time when 
he could not expect to have another. 

Equally great was that of holy Job, who, afflicted in body, 
bereft of his sons, deprived of his property, and ridiculed 
by his friends, still said, " Though He should slay me, yet 
will I always hope in Him/* 

27. Whoever casts himself into the arms of God's providence and 
allows himself to be ruled, is borne to heaven in a chariot with all 
his crosses, so that he scarcely feels their weight. He who acts 
otherwise, goes on foot, dragging them with labor and weariness.^ 
8t Be7*nard, 

The Emperor Ferdinand II said of himself : " Trials 
and troubles would have worn me out long ago, if I had 
not abaudoned all my affairs, and myself as well, to Provi- 

In a city of Italy there lived a poor young girl who was 
bed-ridden and afflicted by many infirmities ; yet, those j 
who visited her found her always cheerful, and even the re- ' 
port of a threatened famine caused her no alarm. Being 1 
asked how she kept v\p \v«t dsi^\:feA\ift!a& in the midst of so I 
many miseries, aYie i:e^\\^^Ja»X» ^V^^ ^ia^xM^^sss^i^^^ I 


God ; that she was like a little bird under the wings of DI- 

- vine Providence^ and therefore she was neither a&aid nor 
anxious about anything. 

88. The servant of God ought to fear nothing, and to give himself 
tat little concern even as to the devils themselves ; for, every time 
' ihey fail to terrify us, they lose strength, and the soul masters them 
more easily. If the Lord is powerful and they are His slaves, what 
harm can they do to those who are servants ot so great a King 
and Lord 1—8t, Ihresa. 

Hiis Saint testifies of herself that she was so timid that 

- she often did not dare to go into a room alone^ even in the 
day. But finally she began to consider what a shame it was 

' for a soul to be alarmed and affrighted at anything but of- 

I fending Qod, when we have so great and powerful a Lord, 

[ who rules everything. Then she thought how all creatures, 

C even the devils, are subject to Him, and how she desired to 

serve this Lord, and aimed at nothing but to please Him 

and do His will. In conclusion, she said to herself, ^' What 

SDEi I a&aid of? What do I fear ?" and, taking a cross in 

her hands, she began to challenge the demons, saying, 

** Come now, all of you, for I am a servant of God : I wish 

to see what you can do to me !" After that, she said that she 

felt full of courage, and all her fears vanished ; so that, 

though she saw the demons many times afterwards, she had 

no fear of them at all, and it seemed to her, on the contrary, 

that they feared her, because she felt such superiority over 

them that she regarded them no more than so many flies. 

A servant of God, who was much tormented by the devils, 
constantly sang with joy the psalm, Laudate, pueri Domir- 
wuii. The devils, being angry at this, increased her torments. 
But she mocked them, and said : ^^ I count you as nothing, 
vermin I I have my Lord with me, and do not four ^o^ ux 
the letmt,'^ 


t9. Though one diould fall Into many and grieTOOS rfu andto* 
perfectiona, he ought never to despair of his aalyation, nor loae eoi> 
fldenoe in God, for the Divine clemency if ioflnitely greater tbn 
human malice.— iSt. J. Ohryi<mUm. 

When St. Bernard was severely ill, he had a nptar^ 
in which he seemed to be led to judgment, and then 
tempted to despair by the devil, to whom he gave this a»> 
swer : ^^ I confess that I do not deserve Paradise for mj 
works, for I know that I am unworthy of so great a good. 
Nevertheless, my Lord has two claims to it— one, that He 
is the Son of God, the other, that He died upcm the cfOHi 
The first is sufficient for Him, and the other He gives In 
me. For this reason I have hope.'' 

St. Vincent Ferrer was remarkable for his oonfidaDoe in 
God, which was strikingly illustrated by the followii^ in- 
cident. One day, he was informed that a dying man had 
£illen into despair, through considering his great sins, and 
that he had therefore refused to make his confeasion. fle 
hastened to his bedside with much hope of winning him 
over. " My brother,'' he said to him, " will you who know -, 
that Jesus Christ died for you, despair of His merc^ 7 |^ 
You would thus grievously slight the great kindness fle 
has shown you." These words made the sick man veiy 
angry, and he answered, ^^ Just for that I mean to be | 
damned, — in spite of Christ !" " And in spite of yourself 
you shall be saved," replied the Saint. Then, turning to 
the bystanders, he said : '^ Let us recite the Rosary to the 
Blessed Virgin, to obtain from her the conversion of this 
most obstinate sinner." The Lord was pleased to show 
how acceptabLi to Him was the generous confidence of His | < 
servant, for, before the Bosary was ended, the room was i 
filled with a WvYWaixt V\^V,, a\yi tW ^reat Mother of Grod j 
appeared, witii t\x^ Ix&^sxV. u^ox^V^x wai ^^owM^^^ipSi^ v 


blood. The harden(>d sinner was moved with love^ grie^ 
•ad compunction at thi^ sight. He made his confession 
with heart-felt contrition, and, a little while after, with a 
look of heavenly joy upon his &oe, breathed forth his 
spirit into the hands of God. 

- Blosius relates of St. Gertrude that she was one day con- 
sidering which of the many things she had leam^ from 
tiie Lord, she might most usefully reveal to men, when 
she heard His voice in her heart speaking in this manner : 
'^ It would be of the greatest use to them to know and re- 
member tliat I am continually interceding before My Father 
for their salvation, and that as often as they stain their 
hearts through human frailty by evil thoughts, I offer to 
Him in expiation My most pure heart ; and when they com- 
mit sinful deeds, I offer to Him My pierced hands ; and so, 
however they err, I instantly seek to appease the Divine 
Father, that they may obtain pardon on their repentance. 

90. Finally, if we wish to perform our actions well and to provide 
for an our needs, we ought, from time to time, to look to Gk)d in imi- 
titioQ of the example of navigators, who direct their course to the 
point they seek rather by looking upwards to the sky than down- 
wards where they are floating. 

To prove the truth of this sentiment, it is sufficient to cast 
a glance upon the example of so many Saints already cited 
for this month, without referring to any new ones. 

81 . We have yet to speak of the confidence to he practised in temp- 
tations and spiritual aridity. But since this is a point of the highest 
importance, which cannot be treated briefly, it seems more desirable 
to make it the subject of a separate treatise which will afford much 
consolation and help to those who suffer from such triala. 




Thiit it the fir&t and greatat commandment : Then ihaU (owe 1h$ lard 
thy Ood mth thy whole heart ; but the ueomd i$ like unto it : Tho>^ 
thaU lew thy neighbor at thyteff.^MBti., zxii : 88. 

1. My Qod and my Lord 1 what need was there of commaodiDgiM 
to love Thee 7 Art Thou not most lovely in Thy infinite perfections ? I 
and for the infinite love Thou bearest to us, dost Thou not deserre 
our love 7 How, then, is it possible that any one should not lofe 
Thee 7 If there is such a person, it must be because he has not de- 
served to icnow Thee. For, a soul that knows Ood, cannot help 
loving Him, and loving Him in proportion to his knowledge of Him ; 
so that if he loves Him but little, it is a sign that he knows Him but 
little ; and the more his knowledge increases, the more his love wiU 
go on growing. — 8t. Tereta. ] 

A very elevated soul once gave her director the following 
account of her interior : " A great flame of love springs up 
in my heart, Father, when I clearly perceive, in the time 
of meditation, how the most holy Humanity of the Lord 
shows how much He deserves our love, by that which He 
bears to us, while He loves us even as He loves Himself! i\ 
He manifests this to us : 1. By the great things He hasdone, 
and is doing, for us. 2. By the great desire He has to be loved 
by us, which He proves by so many extraordinary devices 
of love, and by remaining, as it were, in a state of violence^ 
because He wishes to commu 1 1 icate Himself and make BKm- ^ 
self known to us, that He may be loved by us ; but as He I 
finds no access, by reason of our want of proper dispositions, 
He cannot do it. S. ^7 ^'^ ^Vk^ncfc ^\\k ^Uich He bean 


the coolness He meets with from creatures He has loved so 
miichy and which has no effect upon His unalterable con- 
stancy of love. Under these beams of light, the soul sends 
forth various affections, — sometimes of wonder that the Di- 
vine Majesty should be willing that the creature be ioved 
with an infinite love, and the Creator and Lord with a fi« 
nite and limited love ; sometimes of love, but an excessive 
love^ which devours and consumes it, and it would desire the 
heart of a Seraph to blaze and burn with the love of its Qod ; 
nay rather would desire to love Him with that same love 
with which it sees itself loved by Him ; and again of in« 
enfikable afflictioi), at seeing itself destitute of the knowl- 
edge and love of God, which are the height of its perfection, 
and which would raise it to the Divine Majesty whom it so 
earnestly desires. This pain is increased by the new per- 
ception with which the Lord makes it understand that not 
loving Him is a positive slight to His power, wisdom, love, 
goodness, and do many admirable things which He has done 
and suffbred for it. Oh, where can it rest and how not 
sink into nothingness beneath this light ! I assure you, 
Father, that when God placed before my eyes the great con- 
tempt I had shown to my Love, when I did not love Him, 
I do not know how I remained alive. Surely, if He had not 
suspended my consciousness, I should have died on the spot. 
Finally, the soul is enkindled with ardent longings and de- 
sires that its Beloved may be known, and sends up aspira- 
tions and ejaculations to that Infinite G<X)dness, that it may 
make itself known in order to be loved. It professes its 
readiness toco-operate in theaid and advancement of souls, in 
whatever way may be pleasing to the Divine Majesty, it 
was thus that the loving Lord revealed Himself to me. His 
most vile and unworthy servant. And when He mercifully 
imparted to me any of these graces o\iteA<3L<^ QJi\)DA^Qa&!^ ^1 


prayer, as when I was conversing with others^ or at woA^ 
I &11 into a trance, and was so fkr unconscious that wbea 
the Sisters spoke to me, I did not know what they aud, 
though I always understood the Superioress if she required 
anything as matter of obedience/' 

The blessed Jacopone was so much affected at sedng so 
many lose their souls by offences against God in the 
Carnival-time, that he went about crjdng, " Amor non amo' 
tur, amor non amcUur, quia non oognUur^^ — ^Love is not 
loved, Love is not loved, because it is not known* 

St. Philip Neri, too, often exclaimed : ^^ O Lord, I do 
not love Thee, because I do not know Thee.'' 

3. Wheo one has succeeded in plAcing his heart wholly upoii€k>d, 
he loses his affection for all other things, and no longer finds conso- 
lation in anything, nor clings to anything except Qod, forgetting bli 
own honor and every interest of his own. — 8t. TereM. 

^^ While there is any created thing which can give me 
consolation and delight," says St. Bernard, '^ I do not 1 
dure to say that the love of God is ardent and fervid in my 

Holy Queen Esther, in the midst of her regal pomp 
and splendor, could say : " O Lord, Thou knowest well 
that I have never taken delight in dignity and royal ap- 
parel, nor in the banquets of the king, nor in anything have 
I found consolation until this day, save in Thee, my Lord 
and God." 

St Catherine of Genoa, afte^ she had been struck by th^ 
arrow of divine love, often cried out, '* No more world ! no 
more pleasures !" And if she had been mistress of a thoii" 
sand worlds, she would have thrown them all away, to give 
her whole heart to God. 

St Ignatius lioyo\a ^^i^xil ^ ^^t ^t/c^ have lost all 4tr 


tMibmait to anything that was not 6od^ and he had noth- 
iaf Sit heaii^ but to please Him and to gain his love. He 
flaiiy one da}'^ that if Gk)d should give him the choice of 
going that moment directly to Paradise^ or remaining longer 
in the world to serve Him and advance His kingdom^ «ven 
with tiie uncertainty of his own salvation^ he would choose 
the latter alternative. 

8. Alas \ we have not as much lore as we need 1 I mean, that it 
would require an infinite amount, to have enough to lore our God 
according to His due ; and yet, miserable that we are, we throw it 
away lavishly upon vile and unworthy objects, as if we had a super- 
fluity.—^. F. de8aU$. 

This good Saint could not endure to have an affection for 
anything remain in his heart. He once said : ^^ Truly^ if 
I knew that there was one thread of affection in my soul^ 
which was not of God or for God, I would instantly sever 
it. I would rather be nothing than not belong wholly to 
Grod without any exception.'^ 

St. Philip Neri, burning with these flames of love, often 
cried : " How is it possible that any one who believes inGrod 
can love anything but Him !'' and then addressing to God 
a loving complaint, he would exclaim : ^^ O Lord ! since 
Thou art so lovely and hast commanded me to love Thee, 
why didst Thou give me but a single heart, and that so 
smaU r 

St Augustine, to animate his soul to centre all its love 
upon God, employed such incentives as these :^^ What can 
please thee in this world, O my soul, or what can 
gain thy love? Wherever thou tumest, thou seest only 
heaven and earth. If in both thou findest what is worthy 
of praise and love, of how much praise and love must He be 
worthy, who has made these things thou ^i^is^vsAVs^^s^'l 


My soul^ till this time thou hast been long oocapiedaAi^ 
tossed hither and thither by many and various desireSywlnA^^ 
have ensnared thy hearty and divided it among many lovAMt 
leaving thee always disturbed and never secure. KeodkEL^ 
thyself now a little, and ask those things that please flwCT, 
who is their maker ; and since you admire the form^lovn^ 
its Former, and do not lose thyself in what is made, fioul S. 
to forget Him who made it. Indeed, indeed, my GodfV^ 
Thou art truly worthy to be revered and loved above eveiy-T^ 
thing on earth or in heaven. Nay rather, all transitory thii^I^ 
do not deserve to be loved at all, lest we should lose Thj ivoi 
love.'* Y^ 

4. When a soul that truly loves Ood, knows that a thing is of 1^ 
greater perfection, and more for Ood's service, it pursues it immedi' p^ 
ately and without difficulty, on account of the pleasure it finds inW 
pleasiog Him. Ah my Gk>d, what else is needed but to love Thee K 
truly, and truly abandon everything for Thy lore, for then Thou I 
wilt render all easy \^S6. Teresa, \ 

Such was the conduct of St. Teresa herself, and so she onoe I 
said : " Though I desired the new reform (of the Carmelite 1 
Order), that I might be apart from everything, and follow I 
my vocation with more perfection ; yet I desired it in such a | 
way thut if I had clearly perceived it was more for God's 
service to abandon it, I should certainly have done so with 
perfect peace and tranquillity. For when I am sure that 
a thing is more perfect and more for God's service, I am at 
rest ; and in the contentment which I experience in pleas- 
ing Him, I instantly lose the pain of leaving something 
which had given me satisfaction.'' This was so true that 
in order never to fail in it, she wished to bind herself by a 
vow to do watever she might know to be most perfect and 
most pleasing to the Lord. A similar vow was also taken 
by St. Andrew Ave\\\noax\d\y5?i\.»5^\i^¥x»stf!ftadeGhautal. 


Tn r^ard to St. Ignatius Loyola, it is well known that 
|b 83ught in everything not only the gloiy of God, but His 
|reatest possible gloiy. For this reason, the Church, in the 
prayer assigned for his Feast, sets it down as his distinguish- 
ing mark^ that God chose him to spread His greater glory. 

5. When the love of God obtains the mastery of a soul, it produces 
n it an insatiable desire to labor for the Beloved ; so that, though it 
Hay perform many and great works, and spend much time in His 
lervice, all seems nothing, and it constantly grieves at doing so little 
!or its God, and if it could annihilate itself and perish for Him, it 
vould be well pleased. And so it considers itself unprofitable in all 
hat it does, and regards its life as idle ; for, as love teaches it v^hat 
3^€>d merits, by this clear light it sees all the defects and imperfec- 
ions of its actions, and thus derives confusion and grief from them 
ill. And as it feels that its work is very poor to be offered to so 
^reat a Lord, it is at the greatest distance from vain-glory and pre- 
tnmption, and from condemning others. — St. J. Chrywatom, 

St, Vincent de Paul was equally unwearied and insati- 
stble in laboring for God, and rendering himself acceptable in 
His sight, nor did he think he had ever done enough for 
so great a Lord. In imitation of the Apostles, he forgot the 
good works which were behind him in the past, and put all 
his thoughts and efforts upon advancing daily in God's ser- 

St. Charles was remarkable for this virtue. As long as 
he lived, he had an insatiable desire to honor Gtxl, and to 
spread and promote His worship, which spurred him on to 
labor without weariness. He seemed to grow fresher every 
day, under labors that succeeded one another without inter- 
mission. While those who attended him were often pros- 
trated by &tigue, he never gave the least token of it, as if 
labor were rest and recreation to him. What is more, 
Etfter all the great undertakings he performed in the service 
3f God^ he waa never satisfied with w\ial\i<^\^ ^oiw^^Xs^ 

336 A YtAiL wtrA Ttt£ saikib. 

was always inventing new methods ; nor did he ever think 
or speak of anything but Grod^ and what might oondooe to 
His service and honor. 

6. When one has arrived at the perfect love of God. he becomes 
as if he were the only man on earth. He cares no more for glory or 
ignominy : he despises temptations and sufferings ; he loses taste sod 
appetite for all things. Finding no support, consolation, or repoM 
in anything, he goes constantly in search of his Beloved, withoutever 
being weary ; so that at work or at table, waking or sleeping, in 
every employment or conversation, his whole thought and his whole 
aim is to find the Beloved, for his heart is where his treasure is. 
In one word, he is like a lover who sighs only for the sight of his 
love, and whose love is his all.— i8!^. /. ChryioUam, 

Zeno the Monk, being absorbed in contemplation, went 
about, one day, crying aloud like a madman. He happened 
to meet the Macedonian emperor, and being asked by him 
what he was doing, he returned the question. ^^ I am going 
to hunt," said the emperor. " And I," replied Zeno, am go- 
ing to seek Gt)d, and I will not stop until I have found 
Him." With these words he turned away and left him. 

The blessed Raymond Lullo was so absorbed in divine 
love that his sole concern was love, and he could think and 
speak of nothing else. If any one said to him : ** Whose 
are you ?" he answered : " Love's." " Whence do you come?" 
" From Love." " Whither are you going ?" " To Love." 
" Who has brought you here ?" " Love." 

St. Honoratus the Abbot was so fiiU of the love of Grod, 
and so desirous to serve and glorify Him, that not only by 
day, but even by night, all his thoughts and affections were 
directed to Him. While asleep, he made short and fervent 
instructions upon the obligation and the manner of loving 
God, and his very dreams were filled with the love of Grod, 
piety y and devotioii. 


Simflar was the course of lii:e of the glorious St. Y ino^t 
Ferrer, whose heart and miud were full of God. He was 
always thinking of God ; he never spoke but of God, or 
with God. Whether walking, sitting still, studying, 
or conversing, he always seemed absorbed in God, whose 
love appeared upon his lips, in his face, in his eyes, in all 
his sentiments, in all times and places, even when he was 
asleep ; so that, through the cracks in his d()or, his room 
was often seen illuminated by the splendor that beamed from 
his fitce as he slept. 

The excessive heat which many souls suffered from this 
sacred flame, would seem incredible. St. Aloysius Gron- 
zaga experienced it to such a degree that his face appeared 
all on fire ; St. Catherine of Sienna, so that natural fire 
seemed to her cold rather than warm ; St. Peter of Alcan- 
tara, so that if he plunged into an icy pond, the water 
would boil as if red-hot iron had been put into it ; St. 
Francis di Paula, so that he could light lamps with a touch 
of his finger, as well as with a bLizing taper ; the Venerable 
Sister Maria Villani, so that on turning her thoughts inte- 
riorly to God, or her eyes exteriorly towards some object of de- 
votion, she would feel as if on fire, and she drank upwards 
of twenty quarts of cold water a day, without being able to 
extinguish this flame ; and thf* water, as she swallowed it, 
seemed as if falling upon glowing iron. She was obliged, 
on this account, to give up vocal prayers and her usual pri- 
vate devotions, as they all served to fan this interior con- 
flagration. St. Philip Neri, on one of the night<=« which he 
passed in the catacombs, threw himself on the ground, ex- 
claiminir, " I cannot, I cannot bear it any longer !" when he 
recovered a little, he found that two of his upper ribs were 
bent as if by heat. 

Two remarkable incidents deserve %^^ xdlisq&ss^ ^ 


this point. St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi frequently ex* 
perienoed this holy ardor, and one day she was un- 
usually inflamed by it. She b^an to huriyJUirough the cor- 
ridors and the garden, and seizing die hands of the Sisters 
whom she met, she clasped them closely, and said : '^ Sisters, 
do you love our Love ? How can you live ? do you not 
feel yourselves consumed by love ?" She next went to the 
bell-tower, and began to ring a great peal upon the diimes. 
The Sisters came in a crowd, and a^ed her why she was 
ringing. " I am ringing," she answered, '^ that people may 
come to love that Love, by whom they are loved 80 much." 
The second occurred in the time of St. Louis of France. 
One of his ambassadors met one day, in a city to which he 
had been sent, a woman who was going through the streets 
with a vase of water in her right hand, and a lighted torch 
in her left, and who cried out with deep sighs, " Oh God ! 
oh God ! is it possible !" Wlien the ambassador asked her 
what she wished, she answered : " I would wish, if it were 
according to the will of God, to extinguish the fires of hell 
with this water, and to bum up Paradise with this torch, 
that God might be loved purely for love's sake.'' 

7. It should be observed that perfect love of God consists not 
in those delights, tears, and sentiments of devotion that we generally 
seek, but in a strong determination and keen desire to please God in 
all things, and to take care, as far as possible, not to offend Him, and 
to promote His glory.— S<. Teresa, 

St. Jane Frances de Chantal showed how well she under- 
stood this great truth, bv a letter she sent to the Superior of 
a Religious who was looked upon as a soul filled with the 
love of God, because she enjoyed extraordinary consolations. 
" This good girl," she wrote, " greatly needs to be unde- 
ceived. She believes herself highly elevated in the love of 
God, yet she is not mucYv ^\^xtf:«dLm nysNma- 1. Vsftlieve 


ikat these fervors and exaltations which she feels, are the 
w^rk of nature and self-love. Therefore, she should be 
shown that the real strength of love consists not in en- 
joying the divine sweetness, but rather in exact observance 
of the £ules, and the faithful practice of solid virtue, — that 
is, in humility, the love of contempt, patient endurance of 
insults and adversities, self-forgetiulness, and a love that 
seeks not to be known except by God. This alone is true 
love, and these are its uuerring tokens. May Grod preserve 
us from that sensible love which allows us to live in our- 
selves, while the true leads us to die to ourselves.'^ 

Such was the love of St. Thomas of Aquin, of whom it 
is recorded that he kept his soul always as pure and true as 
that of a child five years old. 

8. The love of God is the tree of life in the midst of the terres- 
trial paradise. It has, like other trees, six parts,— roots, trunk, 
brandies, leaves, flowers, and fruit The roots are the virtues by 
which love itself is acquired, and the principal are nine in number : 
1. True penitence, and reception of the Sacraments ; 2. Observance 
of the Commandments and Rules ; 8. Fear of God; 4. Mortification 
of the passions and appetites ; 6. Retirement, and avoidance of the 
occasion of sin ; 6. Examination of conscience ; 7. Humility ; 8. 
Obedience ; 9. Charity to our neighbors. The trunk of the tree is 
surrender of self -will to the will of God. We may discover what the 
branches are by those words, Sfub umbra iUiui quern denderaveram, 
«0elr— Under the shadow of Him whom I had longed for, I rested. 
The first of these is lively faith, by which the soul can view the Sun 
of Justice closely without being dazzled. The second, true confidence 
in the Divine protection, by means of which one can escape being 
cast down in the midst of adversities. The third, ardent desires, and 
firm resolutions, and other interior acts, continually directed towards 
obtaining true love. The fourth, constancy in remaining seated 
beneath this tree. The leaves are: 1. New graces freely given; 2. 
Interior sweetness, Joy, spiritual gladness, tenderness, or tears ; 8. 
Raptures and ecstasies, referred to in those words : Introduxit tne 
rex ineeUam vinariam. All these things are called leaves, because 
they serve as an ornament to the tree, and \ie\p \a x&»X\3S^>^^Vo1^\ 

840 Jl txab with thb bxhstb. 

tnd in the wioter of aridity and tribulation they fall, aa the leaiei 
do from a tree, while the love of Ood remains. The flowers are the 
works and heroic Tirtues which the loving soul produces, and are 
what the Bride asked for in the words, FuldU me Jfort&us— Sus- 
tain me with flowers. The fruits are the trials, afflictioDa, and per- 
secutions, which the soul bears with patience, when Gk>d gives them 
to her, or which she even procures for herself of her own accord, 
to serve Him better, or to imitate Jesus Christ in suffering.— iSl{. !7Wvm. 

It 18 no wonder that die Saint knew so well how to de- 
scribe this holy tree, for she kept it planted in her heart, 
and well developed in every respect 

The same idea of love was entertained by a good nun of 
Naples, called Sister Maria de Santiago, in whose life we 
read, that she thought it resembled a beautifiil tree planted 
in the gooil soil of the souls that ])ossess it, and producing 
abundantly the flowers and fruits of holy works. One of tlie 
principal of these, she said, was love of our neighbor, for 
which she was herself remarkable, because she kept this 
fair tree of divine love rooted in her soul. 

9. Some torment themselves in seeking means to discover the art 
of loving God, and do not know — poor creatures— that there is no 
art or means of loving Him but to love Him,— that is, to begin to 
practise those things which sre pleasing to Him,^8t, F, de Baiee, 

St. Vincent de Paul devoted himself nobly to this holy 
practice, observing God's law with so much exactness, that 
those who watched him closely, assented tliat no one who 
was merely a man, could fail le^s than he. He was onn- 
stantly elevated above himself, upright in his judgments, 
circumspect in his words, prudent in his conduct, punctual 
in the practices of piety, and so perfectly united to G^, 
so &r as could be judged from the exterior, that it was plain 
that the love of God was what animated his heart, and ruled 
10 ail the powers and ^ii\Am^\i\& oi \i\% «oul^ to regulate 

irovEicBEB.— CHARmr. 341 

•vvry motion and act It might be said that his whole life 
was a saorifioe to God, not only of hpnora, comforts, pleas* 
ure^i and all other earthly blessings, but even of what he 
had received more directly from His most liberal hand, 
such as lights, affections, and holy desires. Nor did he 
ever wish for anjrthing except that Grod should be known 
and glorified, in all times and places, and by all kinds of 
people. To this end alone he directed all that he thought^ 
said, and did. 

10. The love of God i8 acquired by resolvlDg to labor and luffer for 
Him, aod to abstain from all that displeases Him, and by carrying this 
raaolation into practice as occasion arises. But to be able to do it 
weU in great things, it is necessary to attend to it in 8malL--i8f. 

When thisSaint was much opposed in rc^rd to her Foun- 
dations, she said that she never did anything without the 
advice of experienced persons, that she might not in any 
degree fidl in obedience. ^^ For," she added, ^' rather than 
commit the least of those &ults they charge me with, I 
would most certainly have abandoned not one, but a thou- 
sand convents." 

St. Vincent de Paul was remarkable for this virtue. 
Because he would not consent to anything in the least con- 
trary to justice, simplicity, and charity, he was obliged to 
bear many un&vorable remarks, indiscreet questions, re- 
proofii, affronts, importunities, and other unpleasant treat- 
ment fix)m members of his own Order, as well as from 
others. In such cases, he was never observed to give a 
sign of impatience, or to utter a word of complaint, but 
rather, in order to show the strength of his love for God, 
he spoke and acted with more than his usual sweetness and 


11. A very good way of exercising ouraelves in the love of Chrlit^ 
18 to acquire the habit of keeping Him present to our minds as hx 
as possible. This may be done in three ways : 1. When we have to 
perform any action, to represent to ourselves tiie manner in which 
He did it while dwelling in the world, as well as the spirit and in- 
tention with which He animated it, that we may imitate Him. 3. To 
think how He is continually looking down upon us from heaven, 
and shedding upon us the abundance of His graces and counsels. 8. 
To recognize Him in the person of our neighbor. In this way, we 
shall perform our actions with more ease and perfection ; we shall 
avoid many faults as well as much anxiety and impatience, and in 
every service that we perform for our neighbors, we shall merit as 
much as if we did it to our Lord Himself.—^. V. de FaiU. 

This was St.Yincent'sown practice^ and it raised him very 
high in the love of Jesus. He undertook no business, gave 
no advice, performed no action, without first fixing his eyes 
mentally upon the example or words of Christ, and on the 
rewards which He keeps prepared, and freely dispenses to 
such as labor well. And in his dealings with others, he 
beheld in each the very person of Christ Phrases like 
these were often on his lips : " As Christ said ;" " As Christ 
did f^ " We ought to recognize Christ in all men.'' 

12. Would you know how you stand in regard to the love of Gk>d ? 
Here are the signs by which you may discover : As much as the 
soul grows in divine love, so much do the desires of suffering and of 
being humbled grow in it These are the sure tokens of the sacred 
fire ; everything else is but smoke. — St, F. de Paul, 

St John of the Cross proved how firmly he was per- 
suaded of this. When Jesus Christ appeared to him one 
day, and asked him what reward he desired for the many 
trials and labors he had borne for love of Him, — ^* No 
other, O Lord," he replied, " but to sufier and be de- 

One day, while ttiey n<i«^ OMssi\xn% ^^ words of the 


Gospel, Simon-Joannis, dUigis Me phis his f — Lovest thou 
Me more than these ? — St. Matilda fell into an ecstasy, and 
heard Christ saying to her : ^^ Matilda, lovest thou Me more 
than all things in the world ?'' She replied : " Thou knowest, 
Lord, that I love Thee." Christ continued : " But lovest 
thou Me so as to be willing to bear all sorts of trials, suffer- 
ings, and humiliations for My sake V* " Thou knowest 
well,'' she answered, " that no torments can separate me 
from Thee.'' Then Christ said : *^ But if these torments 
were terrible, would you bear them gladly and readily for 
love of Me ?" And Matilda replied, *• Yes, Lord, most 
readily !" This great love pleased God so much that it 
gave her the same merit as if she had suffered all in reality. 

13. A sure proof that we love God alone, is tbat we love Him 
equally in all cases. For, as He is always equal to Himself, the inequal- 
ity of our love for Him can arise only from the consideration of some- 
thing which is not Himself.— -iS^. F. de Sales, 

By this test we may perceive how pure was the love of 
this Saint ; for, it never increased in prosperity, nor di- 
minished in adversity, but in everything was directed 
equally to the Lord, and through everything he thanked and 
blessed Him. 

St. Jane Frances de Chantal,also, gave this excellent proof 
of her perfect love of God, by feeling equally contented in 
consolations and in desolations, of which she suffered many, 
and for a long time. The reason was, as she said, because 
in both she desired and sought only the fiilfilment of the 
Divine will, by which she knew that both prosperity and 
adversity were sent to her. 

" True lovers of God." said a holy soul, " are like the sun, 
which, though it is sometimes covered with clouds, yet 
always possesses in itself the same light and the same 


14. Tbemeasnre of charity may be taken from tbe want of 
Am deairea diminlah in a aoal, charity increaaea in it ; aad liMa 
it no longer feela any deaire, then it poaaeaiea perfect diaii^.->A, 

8t. Francis de Sales used to say of himself : '^ I wiab ftr 
very few things^ and dioee few I wish for verj little. I 
have almost no desire, and if I were to begin life again, I 
should wish to have none at alL'^ 

St. Teresa was so fully persuaded of this truth that she 
exclaimed : '^ Oh Love, that lovest me more than I love my- 
self, and more than I can understand ! How shall I be able, 
O Lord, to desire more than Thou art willing to give mef 

15. Tbe sureat way to diacoTcr whether we have the love of God,ia 
to see whether we love our neighbor ; for the two tbinga are never 
aefuurated. Be lure, too, that tbe more you perceive yoaraelf to ad- 
vance in the love of your neighbor, the more you wiU do ao in tliaft 
of God. To see how much we love oar neighbor, ia the aoreat rule 
by which to find out how much we love Ood. It is impcvtaat, then, 
to notice with great attention how we walk in this holy love of our 
neighbor ; for if it is with perfection, all is done. And so we ought to 
examine ourselves carefully as to the little things that are constant^ 
happening, without making much account of certain lii£^-flowa 
ideas about the great things we mean to aay and do for our neigh- 
bors, which sometimes come to us in prayer, but which are never 
put into execution.—iSf. Tereta. 

The blessed Angela di Foligno prayed to the Lord to give 
her some sign by which she miirht know whether she truly 
loved Him, and was loved by Him. " The clearest sign,'* 
He answered, ^' of mutual love between Me and My ser- 
vunts, is that they love their neighbors.'* 

TertuUian relates that the mutual love of the first Chris- 
tians was so manifest that even the heathens were mudi as- 
tonished at it, and said among themselves : ^' See how these 
Christians love one aa^^liis&t \ \isy« m\>$3a.i«s^«^^^ \am 


tcfr each other I howready they are to render any servicey 
or even to suffer death, for each others' sake I" 

St. Jerome says, that in his old age St. John the Evan- 
gelist was not able to come to the sacred assemblies, except 
supported by the arms of his followers ; nor could he preach 
long sermons, on account of the weakness of his voice, but 
he would constantly repeat these few words : ^' Little chil- 
dren, love one another." After a time, diose present became 
weary, and asked him why he always gave them the same 
instruction. '^ Because/' he replied, ^^ this is the precept 
of the Lord ; and if you obs^*ve this, it alone will be 

In order that her nuns might be sure whether their ac- 
tions proceeded from the spirit of charity, St. Frances de 
Chantal kept inscribed upon the wall of a corridor through 
which they were constantly passing, a list of the distinguish- 
ing marks which the Apostle assigns to this sublime vir- 
tue : ** Charity is patient, mild, without jealousy, without 
ambition, without self-interest, without aversions. It be- 
lieves all, hopes for all, bears with all." When any one 
in chapter accused herself of a &ult against charity, she sent 
her to read these sentences, which she called the mirror of 
the convent She often read them herself, in presence of 
her daughters ; then, turning towards them with a glowing 
countenance, she would add : ^' Though I speak with the 
tongue of angels and have not diarity, I am nothing ; and 
though I give my body to torture and to fire, and have not 
charity, this profits me nothing." 

16. It is worth while to reflect that God, who has commanded as 
to love our neighbor, has also prescribed the manner in which we 
are to love Him, that is, as ourselves. This is the rule which cannot 
be transgressed without fault ; and it is so essential tlLatun\»Ei&<\^T. 
iowcomm up k> thia measure, ix la uoVa>^<(A.<&\i\H 


St Wenoeslaus spent a great part of his wealth in pur- 
chasing the children of heathen parents, whom he after- 
wards caused to be brought up in the Catholic £Eiith« 

17. Fraternal charity is the sign of predestination. It makes oa 
known as the true disciples of Christ, for it was this divine virtue that 
moved EUm to live a life of poverty and to die in destitution upon 
the cross. Therefore, when we find opportunities of suffering for 
charity, we ought to bless €k)d for them.— 5^. F. de Paul. 

St. Euphrasia, a nun in the Thebaid, was so fiill oi 
charity that she spent whole weeks without taking food, 
on account of her excessive occupation in the service of 
others, and because she devoted to prayer any little time she 
had left. It was noticed that for a whole year she never 
sat down ; and her active kindness made her dear and 
lovely in the eyes of the whole convent, so that she seemed 
to them not an earthly creature, but an angel incarnate. 
Finally, God revealed to the Abbess that He should soon 
take Euphrasia from her. When this came to the ears of 
one of the Saint's companions, she wept day and night, and 
Euphrasia, discovering the cause, was herself grieved at the 
prospect of losing the opportunity of serving God in her 

Eulogius, a very learned man, resolved to abandon study 
and give himself entirely to the divine service. He first 
distributed the greater part of his property among the poor, 
but not knowing what kind of life to choose, in which he 
might best please God, he went into the public square, and 
there found a leper without hands or feet. Touched with 
a lively compassion, he made a sort of compact with God, 
that he would take care of this man, and support him till 
death, in the certain hope of obtaining mercy from the 
Lord, He took \i\m t\v«vi \ft \i\^ houae^ and took care of 
bim with his own \xaad») fox ^^^«c^ ^^\^. i^*^^ ^3sA.^l 


this time, the man, instigated by the devil, b^an to insult 
Eologius, saying thut he must have committed many thefts 
and rascalities, and so made use of him as a means of expi- 
ating his sins, but that he did not wish to stay with him 
any longer, and desired to be carried back to the square, for 
he was tired of & v^table diet, and wished for meat. Eu- 
logius brought him some meat, and tried to quiet him. But 
he would not be pacified, saying that he liked to see plenty 
of people, and nothing would suit him but to be carried 
back to the square. Eulogius, not knowing what to do, 
took him, by ship, to see St. Anthony, who first reproved 
them both, and then said that God had visited them with 
this temptation, because they were near the end of their 
days ; therefore, they must be patient for a little while, and 
not separate, for tlie Lord had permitted this trial, that they 
might receive a greater reward. They returned home, and 
at the end of forty days Eulogius died first, and then his 

18. Gh>d loves our neighbors so much that He gave His life for 
them ; and He is glad even to have us leave Him to do them good. 
How grateful to Him, then, may we believe the services we render 
them I Ah, if we understood well how important is this virtue of the 
love of our neighbor, we should gi\K ourselves entirely to the pursuit 
of it.—St. Teresa. 

St. Vincent de Paul showed how fully he was persuaded 
of this truth, for he took this practice so much to heart that 
he seemed to have nothing else to do. And it may be truly 
said that there was never a miser who took so much advan- 
tage of opportunities to preserve and increase his wealth, 
as he to do good to his neighbors. This charity, too, had 
neither restriction nor limitation, but extended to all times 
and places, and to all persons capable of enjoying ita effectsK 

One morning, before Commumoii, ^\k Qs^tNxkA^ ^^a 


grieving that the lateness of the priest prevented her firom 
ocmfessing some slight fiiults, when the Lord comforted her 
by a sight of her own soul decked with rich and resplendent 
jewels^ and said to her : *^ Why are you sad about this, 
when you are adorned with the mantle of durity, which| 
you knoW| covers a multitude of sins 7^' 

Moses asked to be blotted out of the Book of Lafe, if so he 
might obtain from the Lord Ihe pardon of his brothers ; St 
Paul was ready to be an anathema ; and St Paulinua even 
became a slave in place of another. 

19. Oh, how great must be the love that the Son of God bean to 
the poor ! for He choie the state of poverty, He wished to be called 
the teacher of the poor, and counts most especially as done to Him* 
self whatever is done for His poor.— i8!^. F. ds PattL 

Though this Saint loved all men, yet it may be said that 
He loved the poor above all ; he bore them all in his heart ; 
he had more than a Cither's love for them : so that this most 
tender affection gave rise in him to a keen sympathy with 
their miseries, and a constant effort to relieve them. When 
he met with any case of want, his heart was immediately 
filled with compassion, and, without waiting to be entreated, 
he thought of some method of relief ; so that his chief care 
seemed to be to help the needy and assist the poor. He 
showed this while talking, one day, about the bad weather, 
which threatened to cause great scarcity of food. " Ah f 
he exclaimed with a sigh, "how anxious I feel, — not so 
much for my Congregation, as for the poor ! We will go out 
and ask food for our houses, or serve as vice-curates in the 
parishes ; but what will the poor do ? where can they go ? I 
say with truth, that this is my greatest affliction and triaL^ 

The same may be savflL o? 9X.. YT«ttfaa da Solea^ with the 

addition that he showed ^ i^^t^''^ ^tritec^o.^ Vst ^^ Y« 


owt the rich^ in both temporal and spiritual things, folr he 
looked upon them^ as he said, as people abandoned by the 
Lord to our care. Many other Saints were remarkable for 
their tenderness to the poor. Sister Maria Crucifixa often 
told her Abbess that if it should ever be necessary to re- 
fuse alms to the poor, she would contrive not to be present, 
as she could not bear it. St. Margaret, a Dominican mm, 
put 80 much refinement, delicacy, and courtesy into her acts 
of charity, that the expression '^ This is not a leaf from Sis- 
ter Margaret's book" became a proverb to characterize 
anything that was not well arranged. St. Hedwig, Queen of 
Poland, served the poor on her knees, and washed their feet, 
St. Stephen, King of Hungary, and others, did the same. 

20. We should love the poor with peculiar affection , beholding In 
them the very person of Christ, and showing them the same con* 
sideration that He did.— iSK. F. de FauL 

The venerable Monseigneur de Palafox, after he was a 
bishop, gave a dinner every Thursday to twelve poor men, 
and was present at it himself. But one day, reading the 
Life of St. Martin, he found that that Saint gave food to the 
poor with his own hands, and washed their feet. He de- 
cided to do the same, and carried out his plan inflexibly on 
every Wednesday and Saturday, distributing to all who came, 
the Cf mtents of two large pots, and doing this with his own 
hands, remaining, in the mean time, on his knees, and with 
his head uncovered. At the close of the distribution, he 
washed the feet of the poor ; and he did all this with the 
same pleasure and earnestness that he would have felt in do- 
ing it to Jesus Christ visibly present. This produced in 
his heart a great respect for the poor, for he thought every 
time he met a poor man that he beheld God himself. 

$1. To YiBit tmd relieve the 8ick» ciimot t«!& Xa \x^ % VuVci%^«n 


pleating to God, since He has so greatly commended it. Bat to do 
it with the greatest ease and merit, we must r^^rd the sufferer not 
simply as a man, but as Christ Himself, who testifies that He receives 
in His own person all such service. 

St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi showed wonderful charity 
towards all the sick. She visited them every day, and in se- 
vere cases many times a day, remaining as long as necessary, 
and serving them in all their needs, for which she provided 
herself, or through the Superioress or others in charge. By 
first tasting it herself, she sometimes encouraged them to 
take food. She bathed them, arranged their beds, and swept 
their rooms, performing the humblest offices of her own 
accord. She read spiritual books to them, exhorted them 
to patience, or gave them consolation, and did eveiything 
with so much affection and cheerfulness, that she was of 
the greatest assistance. This charity was universal, free 
from self-interest, prompted solely by the love of God, re- 
garding the sick now as temples of the Holy Ghost, now 
as sisters of the angels, and herself always as serving God 
alone. When medicine was to be given at inconvenient 
hours, she offered to help the infirmarian. When any re- 
quired unusual care, she took the whole charge of serving 
them. She did this in the case of a blind consumptive, of 
a leper, and of one who had a frightfiil ulcer, to which she 
more than once applied her lips. She waited on them all 
with as much attention as if she hud been their servant, 
bathing them, washing their clothes, and performing all 
other services through the whole course of their illness, 
which, in the case of the consumptive, lasted for a year. 
When the sick were near their end, she remained with them 
all night, without lying down, sometimes staying beside 
them for fifteen dayaaivA. v\\^\i:^\\\ ^x3L<;iftfts&ion^ now praying 
for them, now encouTagvu^ V^aam ^\^ ^ \ss».^^^d^sas|^W^ 


charity, that she gave them the greatest comfort And so 
all the dying wished to have her present at their passage 
fit>m this world. 

St. John Berchmans bestowed similar care upon the sick, 
in whatever house he was living. He visited them many 
times a day, and consoled them with spiritual conversation. 
In summer, he brought them cool water from the fountain, 
at the hottest part of the day, to moisten their tips and 
hauds. However numerous they migiit be, he went to see 
them all every day, and spent most time with those who 
required the most aid, or received the fewest visits. From 
the rooms where he found many gathered, he quickly hast- 
ened, to go to those who were alone. He always told some 
anecdote of the Blessed Virgin to the sick lay-brothers, who 
watched eagerly for the hour of his visit, and if anything 
had hindered him, they asked the Father in charge to send 
him later, — so much were they consoled by his presence. 
When he was not able to visit any brother, he did not 
fidl to inquire of the infirmarian in r^rd to him. 

St. Felix the Capuchin showed no less pity for the sick 
of his Order. At his return to the convent, when he had 
been out to solicit alms, he went around distributing among 
them any little delicacies and refreshments he had obtained, 
consoling them, at the same time, with amiable words, and 
showing his readiness to render them whatever service they 

Many, too, even persons of high rank, have had a voca- 
tion for visiting and serving hospitals. St. Stephen, King 
of Hungary, went to them by night, alone and in disguise. 
St. Louis, King of France, served the inmates on his knees 
and with uncovered head, looking upon them as members 
of Christ and united with Him upon the cross. And so 
with man/ others. 


When St John Gualberto was Abbot^ he was so rigoroai 
in regard to the obeervanoe of the Sule, that he had no 
mercy on the sick, but desired them to keep it like thd 
well. But this was not pleasing to the Lord, 'so He per- 
mitted him to fall grievously ill, and leam fix>m his own 
experience how to compassionate sufferers. 

22. To have that love for our neighbor which is commaDded hj 
the Lord, we must entertain gocd and amiable feelings towards him, 
especially when he is disagreeable and annoying to us on account of 
any defect, natural or moral ; for then we find nothing in him to 
love, except in God. The maxim of the Saints was, that in per- 
forming works of charity and kindness, we ought to consider not 
the person who receives them, but Him for whose sake they are 
done. Nor let us be discouraged if we sometimes feel repugnance ; 
for, an ounce of this solid and reasonable love is of much greater 
value than any amount of that tender and sensitive love which we 
share with the animals, and which often deceives and betrays our 
reason.— iSif. F. de 8alei, 

St Jane Frances de Chantal possessed this love in abun- 
dance, for, as we read in her Life, she never lost an op- 
portunity of showing it for any one, whatever &ults and de- 
ficiencies she might observe in him. She often exhorted her 
Sisters to do the same, saying to them : " We ought to bear 
with our neighbors, miserable and ill-conditioned though 
they may be, even iu their follies and trivialities, supporting 
their tediousness and those littles vexations which do no 
harm beyond wearying us ; their want of harmony, too, their 
weakness, and thoughtlessness occasioned by their deficient 
knowledge, and all those defects, which only r^ard the 
person who suffers from them. It is certainly necessary to 
suffer something, and if our neighbor had no defects and 
gave us no trouble, how could we have occasion to bear with 
him?" Having heard that one of her Religious found it 
very difficult to bear m\Scx \Xv^ W^^xI^yw^^ ^f another, sbo 


inote thus to hear : ^^ My daughter^ often consider how 
!fc is said in the Gospel that Jesus Christ loved us^ and 
iraahed us in His blood, and observe that He did not wait 
io love us until after we were washed fix)m our impurities ; 
mt He loved us when we were vile and impure creatures, 
md then washed us. Let us, then, love this dear neighbor of 
>tir8 without examination, though he be poor and ill-ooiidi- 
bioned, and whatever he may be. And if it were possible 
ko wash away his imperfections with our blood, we should 
lesire to give even the last drop of it for this purpose.'' 

The venerable Sister Maria Crucifixa loved all her neigh- 
borSy but she showed special kindness for those who were 
^aa unhappy disposition, or who exhibited any dislike to 
ker. Once she was much disobliged by a person in minor 
Cirders, who, as she afterwards heard, could not receive ordi- 
kiatioii, because he had not sufficient fortune. She thereupon 
prevailed upon his mother, who was a duchess, to make 
^ settlement of this requisite amount of property ui)on him. 

28. Let U8 beware of complaints, resentments, and evil-speaking 
■igidnsi those who are lll^isposed to us, discontented with us, or 
BtMtfle to our plans and arrangements, or who even persecute U8 
"^rith injuries, insults, and calumnies. Rather let us go on treating 
them as cordially as at first, or more so, as far as possible showing 
them esteem, always speaking well of them, doing them good, serv- 
flog them on occasion, even to the point of taking shame and dis- 
^p»ce upon ourselves, if necessary to save their honor. All this 
<ra^t to be done, first, to overcome evil with good, according to the 
teaching of the Apostles ; and secondly, because they are our al- 
Hflg rather than our adversaries, as they aid us to destroy self-love, 
^hlcb is our greatest foe ; and since it is they who give us an op. 
IKirtunity to gain merit, they ought to be considered our dearest 
Mends.— iS^. V. de Paul. 

It was thus that he himself treated those who offended 
him. He not only pardoned them willingly, and obtained 
pardon from the government for tbem \<AxeT\ x^ci^vc^^l^Xsq^ 


oompassioiiated tfa^n, excused them, showed for them 
same esteem, affection, andrespectas if nothing hadli 
pened, and did them all the good that was in his poi 
Still more, as he was very sensitive regarding frato 
diarit J, he took care to extirpate from their hearts the i 
of rancor, and to gain their affection by exonerating tfa 
hombliog himself, and bending to them so much thatt 
were obliged to yield to his humility and charity. He 
never heard to complain of any one, whatever offena 
had given, and still less to blame or accuse any, so lonj 
his own interests were the only ones involved. One da 
missionary of his Congr^ation told him that some peo 
moved, as he thought, by envy, were putting obstacle 
the way of the ordination of some new priests. ** Yes/ 
auswered, '^ this function frequently excites emulation 
envy. But those who are now in opposition, may ha^ 
good and upright motive. So, we ought to preserve 
our esteem and respect for them, and believe with tl 
that we are unworthy of such a charge, and that oil 
would execute it better than we. Let us profit by 
sentiment, and give ourselves to God in truth, to serve I 

St. Francis de Seles was once talking with an intin 
friend, who said that, in his opinion, one of the most diflB* 
precepts of Christianity was that of love towards enem 
" For my part,'* said St Francis, ** I do not know n 
my heart is made of, or whether Ood has been gracioi 
pleased to give me one quite peculiar. For I do not i 
the fulfilment of this precept in the least difficult ; on 
contrary, I experience so much pleasure in it, that if God 
forbidden me to love my neighbors, I should have the gr 
est difficulty in obeying Him." The following incic 
shows how truly he spoke* 


lawyer of Annecy hated the holy prelate for no visible 
f and was constantly speaking ill of him^ injuring and 
3Uting him, so that he even tore down one of his 
s which was &stened upon the church door^ and 
led a thousand disgraceful figures on his confessionaL 
iaint^ who knew all this^ met him one day, and made him 
adly bow ; then taking him by the hand with great 
ness, he said whatever he thought most likely to make 
hange his course ; but, seeing that his words produced 
ect, he added : " I clearly perceive that you hate me, . 
h I do not know why. But assure yourself that if 
^ere to put out one of my eyes, I would look at you 
'iie other as amicably as if you were my best fiiend/' 
leart, however, was not softened by this, nor by the 
; of his friends to lead him to re-consider his actions, 
e contrary, after firing pistol-shots at his windows, lie, 
ay, fired at the Bishop himself in the street, but by 
ce wounded his vicar. For this act he was imprisoned 
3 senate, and, notwithstanding the interposition of the 

he was condemned to death. But the holy Bishop, 
g obtained a reprieve, used his influence with the king 
sessfuUy as to obtain his pardon. He went himself to 
[son to bring the good news, and to entreat him to aban- 
hostility for which he had no just cause. Finding him 
led as ever, and ready with c ilumnies and insults, he 
and asked his pardon. Finally, perceiving that noth- 
ould move him, he left by his side the paixlon he 
>tained for him, and took leave, saying : " I have res- 
^ou from the hands of man's justice, and you are not 
rted. You will fiJl under the justice of God, from 

you cannot escape.^' This soon happened j for, a 
^hile aftier, his life came to an unhappy end. 
he Lives of the Fathers we read of a monk, whO; whea 



he knew that another was speaking ill of him, was mucli 
pleased^ and often visited him when such a one was in the 
neighborhood^ and sent him presents when at a distance. 

Tiiere was also another, who always showed the greatest 
love to any who insulted him, saying to those who were as- 
tonished at it : ** Those who insult us give us tlie means of 
perfecting ourselves ; and those who praise and honor us, put 
stumbling-blocks before our feet^ and give us subjects of 

An old monk, too, is mentioned, whose cell was often 
entered secretly by another monk, who robbed him of any- 
thing good that he had, particularly m the way of food. 
This the good old man noticed in silence, and worked 
harder than before, and ate less, saying to himself, ^^ This 
poor brother must be in want/' When the holy old man 
lay on his death-bed, surrounded by the monks, he saw among 
them the robber, and begging him to approach, he clasped 
his hands and kissed them, saying : ^' Dear hands ! how 
much am I obliged to you ! I thank you with all pes- | 
sible earnestness, for by your means I am now going to | 
Paradise P' j 

St. Teresa was accustomed to redouble her charity towards 
those who offended her. 

St. Francis Borgia used to call those who brought upon 
him any mortification or trial, his assistants and friends. 

A certain good nun, whenever she received an injury 
from any one, always hastened to the Most Holy Sacrament, 
and made an offering of it, sayinir : " O Lord, for love of 
Thee I pardon her who has done me this wrong 1 Mayest 
Thou pardon her for love of me !'' 

One of her nuns once told St. Jane Frances de Chantal, 

that another Sister had rwealed some of her faults, but she 

bad resolved, fort\ie\oNeoiQsQdL>TLQV\ft^^^^^esssi»\a^^ 


in return. The good Mother embraced her tenderly^ saying : 
^ May it please my God that this resolution shall never pass 
away &om your mind I I should consider myself most 
happy if I oould find it in the hearts of all our Sisters/' 

84. Let UB endeavor to show ourselves fuU of compassion towards 
the faulty and the sinfuL If we do not show compassion and 
charity to these, we do not deserve to have God show it towards us. 
— !«. V.dePUul. 

This Saint was never astonished at any fitult that he 
saw committed ; for he said that to commit faults was the 
characteristic of man^ as he was conceived and bom in sin. 
This acquaintance that he had with the common miseries 
of man, was what made him behave with so much sweetness 
and compassion to all sinners. He avoided harshness, and 
used only mild and compassionate words and ways, even 
with the most guilty, endeavoring to conceal and make 
little account of their fitults, with a marvellous prudence 
and charity, and desiring to have his missionaries follow the 
same course. 

When St. John Berchmans had charge of the Novitiate, 
if the Father Rector ordered him to impose a penance upon 
any novice, he felt such great compassion that he would 
kneel and ask the fiivor of performing it in his place. But 
when this was not granted, he imposed it with such suavity, 
that no one ever showed any hesitation about accepting it. 

St. Francis once said to the Blessed Cataneus, his General : 
** By this I shall know whether you love God and me. His 
and your servant ; that is, by your showing mercy to delin- 
quents. When you find one, do not let him go without his 
feeling the effect of your kindness ; and if you see him fall a 
thousand times, love him always more than myself, that 
you may attract him to good^ and never fe5\ \»\ifc \siSBcraSs5L 


St. Frands de Sales had a heart so tender towards evil< 
doers that he often said, ^' There is no one bat Grod and my- 
self who truly loves wicked men." He gave proof of ex- 
traordinary charity towards them; by ascribing their mis- 
deeds to human frailty. 

25. AmoDg all those who are included under the title of neighbor, 
there are none who deserve it more, in one sense, than those of our 
own household. They are nearest of all to us, living under the 
same roof, and eating the same bread. Therefore, they ought to be 
one of the principal objects of our love, and we should practise is 
regard to them all the acts of a true charity, which ought to be 
founded not upon flesh and blood, or upon their good quallUea, but 
altogether upon Qod.^St, F. de Bale: 

St. Vincent de Paul bore great love to all the members 
of his Congregation. He showed esteem and veneration 
for all; and welcomed them all with such tokens of affec- 
tion, that each felt sure of being tenderly loved by him. 
He provided for their needs with great solicitude; for he 
could not bear to see any of them suffer. He was often seen 
to rise from the table to set aside dishes for the lay-brotherS; 
who came aftier the rest; and if it happened that the cook 
had nothing for any one, or delayed in serving him, he 
would give him his own portion; and constrain him to take it 
He was most attentive in providing relief and comfort for 
the sick, oftien going himself to inquire into their condition 
and their needs ; he advised the infirmarians to take all 
possible care of them; and the Superiors of houses to spare 
no &t]gue or expense in providing for them. He tried to 
soothe their sufferings by special marks of love and atten- 
tion; and offered his prayers to God on their behalf. If 
he perceived that any one of them had a particular desire 
to speak to him, \ie\eft. c^^x^>i!9Lvcv'^ \i5k l\aten to him; and 
gave him all tToie l\me\i^ w^*^, ^\i&\N.V^\3^^^^Nj^ 


the king's council, the importance of the business there 
transacted, prevented him from leaving it in the midst to 
go to them, so that he deferred this work of charity until 
the evening, after the general examen, and denied him- 
self the necessary repose that he might not deprive them 
of this satisfaction. When he saw that any one was troubled 
by interior trials or temptations, he made every effort to 
fi:ee or else to relieve him ; and if any one seemed hardened, 
he did his best to win him by gentleness and mildness, 
sometimes even throwing himself at the feet of such, and 
b^ging them not to yield to their besetting sin. Prostrat- 
ing himself once before one who was unwilling to yield, he 
said to him : ^^ I will not rise from this spot till you have 
granted what I am asking for your good, nor am I will- 
ing that the devil should have more influence with you 
than myself.'' 

St. Jane Frances de Chantal had great charity towards all 
her neighbors. Gi'eater, however, more intense, and more 
tender, was that which she bore to her Religious, and she 
strove to have them feel the same towards one another. In 
an exhortation which she made one day to lead them to 
this, she said : ^^ Observe, that when Jesus Christ gave the 
commandment of fraternal charity to His Apostles, He did 
not speak in the same way of the love which they were to 
bear to all men and of that which they were to bear to one an- 
other. Speaking of the former. He said, ^ Love your neigh- 
bors as yourselves ;' but of the latter, ' Love one another as 
I have loved you, and as My Father loves Me.' Now, the 
love with which Jesus Christ has loved us, and, still more, 
that love with which His Divine Father loves Him, is a dis- 
interested love, a love of equality, a love of inseparable union ; 
therefore, you ought to love one another with this love, to 
fulfil to perfection the 4ivine conunandr(v^ii\>r ^Oci^ss^^ 


loved her daughters in this way^ with a disinterested love^ 
which had no advantage or pleasure of her own for its aim ; 
with a love of equality, which made her equaUj affiibleand 
kind tu all, accommodating herselfto the feelings, desires^and 
inclinations of each, and making herself all thii^ to all 
with admirable condescension, as &r as she lawfully could ; 
and finally, with a love of inseparable unioui for no defect, 
imperfection, or bad quality of theirs, could remove them a 
hair's breadth &om her loving heart 

26. God sometimes gives a certain union of heart and tender lofe 
for our neighbor, which is one of the greatest and most ezcenent 
gifts that His di?ine bounty bestows on man.^St. F. deSaiu, 

The Saint himself had received this beautiful gift. One 
day, conversing with a confidential friend, he spoke thus : 
^^ I think there is not a soul in the world that loves more 
cordially, more tenderly, or, so to speak, more amorously, 
than I, for so it has pleased God to form my heart.'' 

St. Ambrose relates how this love was shown by a holy 
contention which took place between St. Theodora the 
Virgin and a soldier. The Saint was put in a position of 
great danger on account of her &ith in Christ, when 
the soldier came to her, and begged her to change clothes 
with him, that she might escape and save her honor. This 
she did ; but when the holy virgin saw her preserver led to 
martyrdom, she could not endure the thought that her res- 
cue should cost him his life, and publicly exclaimed, that 
it was she who had been condemned, not the one in custody, 
who was in reality not a woman, but a man. The soldier, 
on the contrary, asserted that the judge had not condemned 
her to death. This friendly struggle to save each other 
from death, ended in both receiving the grace of martyr- 


d7. It is not enough to have love for our neighbor— we should no^ 
tioe of what sort it is, and whether it is true. If we love our neigh- 
bor because he does us good, that is, because he loves us, and brings 
us some advantage, honor, or pleasure, this is what we call a love of 
complacency, and is common to us with the animals. If we love him 
for any good that we see in him, that is, on account of beauty, style^ 
amiability, or attractiveness, this is love of friendship, which we share 
with the heathens. Therefore, neitherof these is a true love, and they 
are of no merit, because purely natural and of short duration, being 
founded upon motives which often cease to exist . In fact^ if we love 
any one because he is virtuous, or handsome, or our friend, what 
^ will become of this love if he should cease to be virtuous, or hand- 
some, or to love ns, or, still worse, if he should become our enemy T 
.When the foundation upon which our love rested, sinks, how 
c»n it support itself ? The true love which alone is meritorious and 
lasting, is that which arises from the charity which leads us to love 
our neighbor inGkxi and for Ood ; that is, because it pleases Ood, or 
because he is dear to God, or because God dwells in him, or that it 
may be so. There is, however, no harm in loving him also for any 
honorable reason, provided that we love him more for God's sake 
than for any other cause. Tet the less mixture our love has of 
other motives, the purer and more perfect it will be. Nor does this 
hinder us from loving some, such as our parents and benefactors, 
or the virtuous, more than others, when such preference does not 
arise from the greater good they do to us, but from the greater re- 
semblance they have to God, or because God wills it. Oh how rare 
is the love of this sort, which deserves to be called true love ! 

Nolite amare secundum camem, »ed ieeundum gpiritum sanctum — 
Love not according to the flesh, but according to the Holy Spirit.— 
Bt. F, de SaUs. 

For this reason, he entertained great love and universal 
respect for all his neighbors — ^because he saw God in them, 
and them in God ; and this made him very exact in all the 
duties of courtesy, in which he was never known to fail tow- 
ards any one. He felt, indeed, great tenderness for his 
fiiends, but because he loved them with relation to God, 
he was always ready to deprive himself of them. Writin!^ 
to the Sapenareaa of a, convent^ lie gKve\i€£ ^iic)c^^%2rc£i^:^' 


** Hold the balance evenly among your daughters, that tfadi 
natural gifts may not cause you to divide your affection 
and your good offices unjustly. How many persons are 
there exteriorly polished, who are very pleasing in the eyes 
of God? Beauty, grace, agreeable conversation and manners, 
suit the taste of those who still live according to their in- 
diuations. Charity regards true virtues and beauty of 
soul, and diffuses itself over all without partiality/' 

St. Vincent de Paul made it one of his chief practices to 
r^ard God alone in all men, and to honor in them the 
divine perfections ; and from this most pure sentiment there 
sprang up in his heart a respectful love for all, and espe- 
cially for ecclesiastics, in whom he most clearly recognized | 
the image of the power and holiness of the Creator. There- j 
fore, he charged his missionaries to love and honor them all, 
and never to say anything but good of them, especially in 
preaching to the people. He provided for their needs with 
particular care, as he was unwilling to see the dignity of the 
priesthood lowered in their persons. 

Among the acts of charity which St. Mary Magdalen di 
Pazzi resolved to perform, was this — that she would rev- 
erence and love creatures only because God loves them, 
and that she would rejoice in the love He bears them, and 
the perfections He communicates to them. At the point of 
death, she said that though she had borne great love to all 
her Sisters, she had loved them only in fulfilment of the 
precept of love lefl us by Jesus Christ, and because He had 
loved them so much, and that outside of this, she had never 
had the slightest attachment to any creature. 

2S. Ah I when shall we see ourselves steeped in sweetness and 

suavity towards our neighbors I When shall we see their ^ouls in 

the sacred bosom ot 3eE\i& \ 'WVio^'vet looks upon his neighbor in 

Muy other position, ruua «^ u«Jt ol\QiVTi%\i&sssL^^>isi«. vwjSw^ itf« ij«- 


seTerlngly, nor impartially ; but in such a place, who would not loTe 
him ? Who would not bear with him T Who would not be pa- 
tient with his imperfections ? Who would consider him an object 
of dislike ? Now, our neighbor is truly there in the bosom and 
within the heart of the Divine Savior. He is there as one most be- 
loved and altogether amiable, so that the loving Lord dies from 
pure love of him.— iSS^. F, de SalM, 

This was the principal reason why this holy prelate was 
so mild, so tender, so respectful, so patient, to every one — 
because he saw them all in the heart of Jesus. He mani- 
fested this one day, when Monsignor di Bellei, his penitent, 
complained to him of the great respect he showed him. 
*^ What respect," he answered, " do you show Jesus Christ, 
whom I honor in your person ?" 

It was one of the chief maxims of St. Vinceut de Paul, 
not to r^ard his neighbor according to exterior appearance, 
but as he was in the sight of God. ^' I must not regard," 
he said, " a poor peasant or coimtry girl as to their exterior 
or their natural gifts, for often one can hardly recognize 
in them any resemblance to a rational creature, so rude and 
earthly are they ! But when we look upon them with the 
eye of &ith, we shall find them so deeply graven on the 
heart of the Son of God, that He even gave His life for each 
of them. How desirable it is to view our neighbor in God 
Himself, that we may make the account of him which Christ 
our Lord made 1" 

29. When Raguel saw the young Tobias without knowing him, 
he exclaimed : '' Oh how much this younfi: n^n resembles my cousin !" 
And when he heard that he was the son of that cousin, he embraced 
him warmly, and gave him a thousand benedictions, weeping over 
him for love. Now, why was this ? Not, certainly, on account of his 
good qualities, for he did not yet know what his disposition was ; 
but because, as he said,'' thou art the son of an excellent man, and 
zesemblest him greatly. " See what love do«a,iiYk«a V\.\&>x^. ^^ 


we loTed Ck>d truly, we should do as much for all our neighbon; 
who are all sons of God, and resemble Him much. — 8i. F. de SaHa. 

This reflection made the Saint show great respect to alL 
One day, some one criticised him for showing too much 
honor to the servant of a nobleman^ who had brought him 
a message. " I do not know how to make these distmo- 
tios/' he answered. '^ All men bear the image and 
likeness of God, and that furnishes me with a sufiScieiit 
motive for respecting them.'' When he met persons or 
even animals heavily loaded, he stood aside that they might 
pass more easily, and never permitted his servants to make 
them stop or go back, saying, ^^ Are they not men like 
we ? and do they not at this moment deserve more considera- 
tion than we ?" 

St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi oflen looked upon the im- 
age of God as seen in her Sisters, whidi excited in her heart 
great love for them ; and when any one of them seemed to 
her imperfect and unworthy, she thought perhaps she had 
some hidden gift which caused God to find pleasure in her. 

A holy Religious once wrote this resolution : " I will 
love God for Himself, and for loveof HimI will serve those 
who bear His image. I will give my heart to Him^ and 
my hands to my neighbor, that he may be united to God." 

The Venerable Maria Seraphina di Dio said of herself, 
that she consoled herself under trials, in associating with her 
neighbors, by the thought that she was beholding in them 
the image of God, and that therefore she could not do less 
than treat them with benevolence and cordiality. 

When Theodosius was extremely provoked, and resolved 
to punish severely the inhabitants of Antioch, who had in- 
sulted the statue he had raised to Flacilla, whom he had 
greatly loved for her rare virtues, St. Macedouius begged one 
of his courtiers to say \kesfc ^ot^ \ft\L\ssi\si\^\& name: 

NOVEHBEB.-*-CHARrrr. 366 

^' O Emperor, truly you would do right in pnnifthing these 
insolent men, but, I pray you, remember that they are the 
loving images of God, and if you dare to let loose your 
rage against the images of the Lord, you may draw down 
upon yourself His anger. For, if ill-treatment to the image 
of your dear consort displeased you so much, how can you 
suppose that God will not be equally displeased with what 
you may inflict upon His images, so dear to Him that to 
re«<»st them He had not spared to shed all His blood ?" 
These words, uttered with great simplicity and reported to 
the emperor, did much to pacify him. 

80. Among the means best fitted to acquire and preserve union 
and charity with God and our neighbor, none can be found better 
and more efficacious than holy humility, in abasing ourselves be- 
neath all, esteemiDg ourselves the least, the worst, and lowest of all, 
and thinking evil of no one. For, self-love and pride are what lead 
us to sustain our opinions against those of our neighbor, and thus 
cool the love we owe him. — 8t, F. de Paul, 

A Franciscan preacher once severely reproved in a sermon 
a vice of which a marquis present in the congregation was 
guilty. The latter went to the monk after the sermon, 
loaded him with insults, and ended by saying, ^' Do you 
know me?" " Yes," replied the Father, " and I consider it 
a great honor to be acquainted with such a nobleman, for 
me, whom am but a rustic by birth, and the humblest of 
men," adding other things in his own disparagement. The 
Marquis was pacified by this reply, and went away with 
tears in his eyes, and full of veneration for the priest. 

The Abbot Motues removed to a cell in a place called 
Eradion. But being much troubled there by another monk, 
and fearing that there could be no harmony between them, 
he returned to his former abode. The monks of Eradion 
grieved much at his departure^ and aftex a "wVAft ^^o^ ^^ssl 


I, taking with them the one with whom there had beeo 
difficulty. When they came near the Abbot's cell, they 
took off their outer garments^ and left them in charge of 
this brother. Motues^ on seeing the monks^ welcomed them 
kindly ) and asked what had become of their cloaks. Hear- 
ing that they were near at hand, in the care of his former 
companion, he was much pleased^ and instantly hastened 
out to meet him. Then^ throwing himself at his feet, he 
asked his pardon^ and embraced him, and took him to his 
cell with tlie rest. He kept them all for three days, and 
afterwards went back with them to Eradion. 



Qui manet in ehariicUe, in Deo manet, et Detu in 00— WhoabidM in 
iharitif, abideth in Ood, and Qod in him.— I John, iy : 16. 

1. The object of all virtues is to briDg us into union with 
God, in which alone is laid up all the happines that can be enjoyed 
in this world. Now, in what does this union properly consist ? In 
nothing save a perfect conformity and resemblance between our 
will and the will of God, so that these two wills are absolutely 
alike— there is nothing in one repugnant to the other ; all that one 
wishes and loves, the other wishes and loves ; whatever pleases or dis- 
pleases one, pleases or displeases the other.— /S<. John of the Croee. 

The Blessed Virgin possessed this perfect union^ and St. 
Bernard says of her that she kept her eyes on the watch^ and 
her consent fully prepared for every token of the Divine 

The Venerable Mother Seraphina di Dio had advanced 
far on this road^ for^ in an account which she gave of herself 
to her director, she was able to say : ^^ My soul seems to 
be so much in harmony with our Lord, that whatever He 
operates in it, always appean* most fitting, for it is the very 
thing which it wills for itself. Whatever comes to my 
soul, is a sweet morsel made on purpose for it, and it seems 
unable to desire anything else, so that it never experiences 
bitterness or trouble." Once, when sheaccused^erself of want 
of conformity to the Divine will, she received at that mo- 
ment a ray of light by which she saw how beautiful is the 
will of Grod so clearly that she remained foi ^tcv!^\!\s\^^ss^3L- 



come with astonishment that a creatnre, 8pnu% firoi 
nothing, should fail to love the most holy and beaixfi!S 
will of its Creator. 

2. Those deceive tbemselves, whobelieve that union with Godcoih 
sista in ecstasies or raptures, and in the enjoyment of Him. For it 
consists in nothing except the surrender and subjection of our wiU 
with our thoughts, words, and actions, to the will of God and it is 
perfect when the will finds itself separated from everything, and v- 
tached only to that of Ood, so that every one of its movements il 
solely and purely the volition of God. This is the true and esseolitl 
union which I have always desired, and which I constantly iskofifas 
Lord. Oh, how many of us there are who say this, and who tiiink 
we desire only this ! But, wretched that we are, how few are ever to 
attain it !— /St. Tsraa. 


This Saint never ceased to wonder at the great privilege 
wliich man possesses in being able to unite himself to his 
Creator^ and at the wonderful desire which so great a sov- 
ereign entertains to see him united to Himself. This, there- 
fore, was the object of her keenest desires, and for this she 
strove more ardently than for anything else. | 

St. John the Baptist abode in the desert for twenty-four 
years. God knows how his heart was touched with love 
for his Savior even from his birth, and how earnestly he de- 
sired to enjoy His presence ; and yet, devoted to the simple 
will of God, he remained there discharging his duty, with- 
out even once seeing Him. And after he had baptized 
Him, he did not follow Him, but continued in his office. 
What can we say of all this, if not that his was a spirit de- 
tached from all things and from God Himself, to perform 
His will ? " This example,^' said St. Francis de Sales. 
" overwhelms my soul with its grandeur." 

3. Union with God takes place in three ways : by conformity, by 
miif ormity , and by ddloimW^ . GckMtotmlty is a complete subordini* 
tfon of our will to lYie TiWixi^ WSiVa. ^KN. w» ^'^^TA^<«si^>Bk.>&L<yv 


^arrences and events, so that we will and accept all that God wills 
and sends, however painful and repulsive it may be. Uniformity is 
a close union of our will with the Divioe will, by which we will not 
only all that God wills, but we will it solely because He wills it ; and 
so all repugnances are banished. Deiformity is a transformation 
which renders our will one with that of €k)d, so that it is no longer 
conscious of itself, as if it were no longer in existence, but only feels 
in itself the Divine will, and, as if it were changed into it, no longer 
desires in any of its acts and operations, anything, even what is 
most holy, with or through the created will, but only in the uncreated, 
made its own by transformation.— Fr. Achillea OagliarcU. 

St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi attained to all three de^ 
grees of union. As to the first, she often said, with great 
feeling : ^^ If I should see hell open, and believe that it 
was the Lord's will that I should suffer eternally in those 
flameS; I would plunge into them instantly, of my own ac- 
cord, to accomplish His divine will.'' For the second^ 
she said, in an ecstasy that she had at Pentecost, ^^ I pro- 
test that I do not seek or desire the Holy Spirit, except ac- 
cording to the will of God. I desire His presence, and I 
do not desire it, because I do not wish to desire it of my- 
self as of myself ; so that if God should give it to me to do my 
will, and not His as His, but as mine, even though His will 
were to be found in this, yet not primarily and totally His, 
I should be in no wise content. So much does it concern 
me not to wish to possess or make my own, what I have 
given to Him, and what I wish should be wholly His, that 
I may be able to say with perfect truth in everything, 
Mat voluntas Tua. For the third, she lived as one dead to 
herself, without any intention or will of her own. In an- 
other ecstasy, the Lord showed her her own soul in this con- 
dition, under the form of another soul, which she described 
in these terms : ^' She follows her Spouse without under- 
standing, without speaking, without hearing, without tast- 
ing;^ and^ BO to speak, without acbvnig) aiA «i^ M ^^^^« "^^^ 


thinks only of following the interior attraction of the Di- 
vine Word^ that she may not o£fend Him/^ 

4. Conformity to the Diyine will is a moit poweifal meaDi to 
o?ercome every temptation, to eradicate everf imperfection, and to 
preaerye peace of heart. It is a meet efficacious remedy for all ilh^ 
and the treasare of the Christian. It includes in itself In an emi- 
nent degree mortification, abnegation, indi£Ference, imitation of 
Christ, union with Qod, and in general all the virtues, which are 
not virtues at all, except as they are in conformity with the vrill of 
Ood, the origin and rule of all perfection.— iSt. F. de FauL 

St. Vincent de Paul was himself so much attached to 
this virtue^ that it might be called his characteristic and 
principal one, or a kind of general vii*tue which spreads its 
influence over all the rest, which aroused all his feelings and 
all his powers of mind and body, and was the mainspring of 
all his actions. If he placed himself in the presence of God 
in his prayers or other exercises, his first impulse was to 
say with St. Paul, " Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do ?" 
If he was very attentive in consulting and hearkening to 
God, aud showed great circumspection in distinguishing be- 
tween true inspirations proceeding from the Holy Spirit, and 
false ones which come from the devil or from nature, this 
was in order to recognize the will of God with greater cer- 
tainty, and be in a better position to execute it. And, finally, 
if he rejected so resolutely the maxims of the world, and at- 
tached himself solely to those of the Gospel , if he re- 
nounced himself so perfectly ; if he embraced crosses with 
BO much affection, and gave himself up to do and suffer ail 
for God, — this, too, was to conform himself more perfectly 
to the whole will of his divine Lord. 

The blessed Jacopone being astonished that he no longer 
felt any disturbances ^oid ^n\V vavi^\ilses^ as he did at first, 
beard an interior voica €>aY^»%\ ^^ ""SM^a ^\si^ Hsl^^s^-^^^rbl 


having wholly abandoned yourself to the Divine will, and 
being content with all it does.'^ 

5. So great is the delight which the angels take in executing the 
will of God, that, if it were His will that one of them should come 
upon earth to pull up weeds and root out nettles from a field, he 
would leave Paradise immediately, and set himself to work with all 
his heart, and with infinite pleasure. — BL Bnrieo 8u9one. 

He himself was so satisfied with the will of God, so 
completely attached and submissive to it^ that he said, ^^ I 
would rather be a bat at the Divine will, than a seraph at 
my own/' 

So great was the love and tenderness which St. Mary 
Magdalen di Pazzi entertained for the Divine will, that 
at the mere mention of it, she would be lost in an ocean of 
•piritual joy, and sometimes rapt into ecstasies. One even- 
ing, after most of the others had retired to sleep, some 
one said of a certain Sister that she had a great desire to do 
the will of Grod. The Saint replied joyously, " She is right, 
for to do the will of God is a thing most lovely" — ^and with 
that she remained bereft of sense, for she could not bear 
the flood of sweetness that flowed over her at the thought 
of the loveliness of the Divine will. She then ran through 
the dormitory, exclaiming, ^^ How amiable is the Divine 
will r' and calling upon the rest to come and confess this 
^th her. She excited such a tender emotion in them all, 
that they arose and went with her to the chapel, where they 
all unitedly confessed with a loud voice that the Divine 
will was worthy of all love, and the hearts of aU were deeply 

6. A soul truly resigned to Ood has no affection for any created 
thing, for it sees clearly that all its possessions, except €k)d, are vain 
and a nullity. So its single object and aim is to die to itself, and to 
resign itself actually and always in all thin^.— Bl. Sivricio &mmxa. 


St* Vincent de Paul excelled in this, for he lived qniie 
apart from all creatures^ and eveu from himself^ taking no 
care but to depend in everything upon the will of God and 
the disposal of His holy providence. 

The soul of the Venerable Mother Seraphina had arrived 
at this happy state^ as appears from an account she gave 
of herself to her director in these terms : " The state in which 
I find my soul at present^ is, that I wish for nothing except 
what God wills. The will and pleasure of God has so pene- 
trated me, and has become so wrought into my own will and 
pleasure, that it has made itself mine, and I desii*e that alone 
which God wills, and not only do I will it, but I am not 
able to will otherwise, nor to have any pleasure or will bat 
His. This is my sole and complete will, nor have I need 
to produce or repeat acts of it, for I have it deeply im- 
pressed upon my soul ; I love and esteem it, and rejoice in 
it supremely." 

7. As the Lord knows for what we all are adapted, He gives to all 
their positions as he sees to be most for His own glory, for their 
salvation, and the good of their neighbors. Our mistake, then, is in 
not submitting ourselves totally to whatever He wishes to do with 
us. — 8t, Terem, 

When her director expressed a doubt as to the spiritual 
course she was following, and bade her try another, St. Teresa 
was only able to place herself in the hands of God, that 
He, who knew what was best for her, might wholly ac- 
complish His holy will in her heart. 

The Lord, one day, gave St. Francis Borgia the choice of 
life or death for his wife, who was seriously ill. But he 
replied with emotion, " Why, O Lord, commit to my 
judgment what lies solely in Thy power ? What concerns 
me is to follow TViy \io\Y n^*^ Vsl ^\ iVvija^^^ since no one 

DECEliBBR. — ^UNIQN. 373 

knows better than Thou what is best for me. Do^ then, 
what is most pleasing to Thee, not only with my wife, but 
with my children also, and with myself. Fiai voluntas 

A blind man earnestly entreated St. Y edastus, on the day 
of his festival, to give him sight, and obtained it. Then, con- 
tinuing his prayer, he said that he would not have asked it, 
except as a help towards his salvation, when it was imme- 
diately taken away again. The same thing happened to an- 
other, who was cured of a painful infirmity by the interces- 
sion of St. Tliomas of Canterbury, but who protested to the 
Saint that if health was not best for him, he did not desire it. 
Upon this, his previous illness instantly returned, at which 
he felt no disappointment. 

8. We ought to submit to the will of God, and be content in what- 
ever state it may please Him to put us ; nor should we ever desire to 
change it for another, until we know that such is His pleasure. This 
is the most excellent and the most useful practice that can be adopted 
upon earth.— flS^. V, de Paul. 

The venerable Father Daponte told an intimate friend 
that he was glad of all his natural defects of appearance and 
speech, since it had pleased the Lord to mark him with 
them ; that he was glad also of all his temptations and mis- 
eries, both interior and exterior, since God so willed it, and 
that if it were the will of God that he should live a thou- 
sand years, oppressed by &r greater trials, and in the deep- 
est darkness, provided that he should not offend Him, he 
would be quite content. 

When the news of her husband's death in the war was 
brought to St. Elizabeth, she instantly raised her heart to 
God, and said : " O Lord, Thou knowest well that I pre- 
ferred bis presence to all the delights of the world ! Eut 


•ince it has pleased Thee to take him from me, I assent so 
fully to Thy holy will, that if I could bring him back by 
plucking out a single hair from my head, I would not do it, 
except at Thy will." 

9. Never believe you have attained such puri^ as yoa should, 
whilst your will is not freely and gladly submissive to the holy will 
of Qod, as to all, and in all, even in things the most repugnant.-- 
6t. F. d$ 8aUi. 

St Jane Frances de Chantal said that he arrived at sudi 
purity, as she knew from himself, for in his deepest afflic 
tions he experienced a sweetness a hundred times greater 
than usual. This came from the intimate union with Grod 
that he enjoyed, which made the bitterest things most de- 
licious to him. 

The Congregation of St. Vincent de Paul having met 
with a serious loss of property, he informed a fiiend of it 
in this way : " As you are one of our best friends/ 1 can- 
not do less than let you know of the loss we have met 
with — not, indeed, as a misfortune that has befidlen us, but 
as a &vor which the Lord has bestowed on us, and in the 
intention that you may help us to render Him due thanks. 
Favors and benefits are the name I give to the ai&ictions 
that He sends us, especially when they are well received. 
And as His infinite goodness has ordained this loss, He has 
made us accept it with perfect and entire resignation, and, 
I can safely say, with as much gladness as we should have 
felt at any prosperous event/' 

10. One act of resignation to the Divine will» when it ordains what 
is repugnant to us, is worth more than a hundred thousand successes 
according to our own will and pleasure.— iS^. F. de Paul. 

How mucht in the m\ds»t o^ 2il hia disasters, did holy Job 


merit before God^ by his Dominua dedity Dominus abdidit 
— The Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken away ! 

11 . Perfect reBignation is nothing else than a complete moral ao- 
Dihilation of thoughts and afPections, when one renounces himself 
totally in Ood, that He may guide him as He wills and pleases, as 
if one no longer knew or cared for either himself or anything else ex- 
cept God. It is thus that the soul, so to speak, loses itself in God, 
not, indeed as to its nature, but as to the appropriation of its powers. — 
BL Ehvrieo Susons. 

St. Catherine of Genoa was one of those happy souls 
who attained to a share in this holy annihilation, in which, as 
she herself attests, she had no longer thoughts, affections, or 
desires as to anything, except to leave God to do with her, 
and in her, all that He might will, with(»ut any choice or 
resistance on her part, and that this gave her in all circum- 
stances and occasions, a delight like that of the blessedi 
who have no will but that of their God. And so she was 
able to say : " If 1 eat, if I drink, if I speak, if I am silent, 
if I sleep, if I wake, if I see, if I hear, if I meditate, if 
I am in the church, if I am in the house, if I am in the street^ 
if I am sick or well, in every hour and moment of my 
life, I would do only God's will, and my neighbor's for His 
sake ; or rather, I would not wish to be able to do, to 
speak, or to think anything apart from the will of God ; and 
if anything in me should oppose itself to this, I would 
wish that it might instantly become dust and be scattered to 
the winds.'' 

A young girl, whom she hnd never seen, once appeared to 
St. Aldegonde, and told her, in the name of the Blessed 
Virgin, that she might ask what she chose, and it would be 
given her. But the Saint replied cheerfully, that she de- 
sired nothing, except that in all things the holy will of God 
should be accomplished, to which she would be resi^ied 
mih, all possible satisfaction and plessvxt^ 


12. When shall it he that we shall taste the Bweetness of the Di- 
Tine will in all that happens to us, considering in eyeiything only 
His good pleasure, by whom it is certain that adversity is sent with 
as much lore as prosperity , and as much for our good ? When shall 
we cast ourseWcs unreservedly into the arms of our most loving 
Father in heaven, leaving to Him the care of ourselves and of our 
affairs, and reserving only the desire of pleasing Him, and of serving 
Him well in all that we can ? — 8t, J, F, de OhanUU, 

When St. Peter was about to hold a disputation with 
Simon Magus^ he received word from his opponent^ that, 
on account of important business, he should be obliged to 
defer the debate for three days. St, Clement, wlio had jast 
been converted, and who was with St. Peter, was grieved at 
this delay. But St. Peter consoled him by saying : " My 
son, it is to be expected of the heathens that they will be 
troubled when things do not turn according to their wishes ; 
but for us, who know that the Lord guides and disposes 
all things, we ought in all cases to abide in great peace and 
consolation. I will show you that this event which dis- 
pleases you, is in reality for your good, for if the discussion 
had taken place now, you would have understood but little 
of it, but later you will understand it better ; for, in the 
mean time, I will instruct you, so that you will be able to 
derive greater advantage from it. So, for the future, beware 
of separating yourself from the Divine will, and always be 
sui-e that whatever haj)pens will be for the best.^' 

We read of the wife of a soldier, who used to say, when 
a misfortune happened to any one, ** It will be the best 
thing for him." She made the same remark on the occasion 
of her husband's losing an eye. Some time after, it happened 
that the king was near death, and, according to the custom 
of the country, some one was chosen to honor his death by 
dying with him. lt\i'a?^\>^w^ \3aa.t this soldier was chosen, 

but when he Y^as mfotixveSL oi\3^s»*^-Woaafc^V^\\a5s^^iaj^ 


said : '^ But no ! it is not proper that so great a king should 
have a one-eyed man for his companion in death !" This 
was approved by all, so that the loss of an eye was no evil, 
but a great piece of good fortune. 

13. To lose ourselves in Ood, is simply to give up our own will to 
Him. When a soul can say trul}', ** Lord, I have no other will than 
Thine/' it is truly lost in Qod, and united to Him. — St, F, de Sales. 

The venerable Father Daponte made this prayer, and re- 
peated it every day : " Fiat, Domine de me, in me, pro me, 
et ciroa me et omnia mea, sanda volunata Tua, in omnibus eb 
per omnia et in o^emum"— Concerning me, in me, for me, 
in regard to me, and all that I have, may Thy holy will, 
O Lore], be done, in all things, and through all things, 
and to eternity. 

The Lord appeared one day to St. Grertrude and said to 
her : ^' Daughter, behold, I bring you in one hand iiealth, 
and in the other sickness. Choose which you please !" The 
Saint, throwing herself at His feet, with her hands crossed 
upon her bosom, answered : " O Lord, I pray Thee not to 
consider my will at all, but solely Thine own, and to do 
with me whatever will result in Thy greatest glory and 
satisfaction ; for I have no desire except to have whatever 
Thou wishest me to have." The Lord was much pleased 
with this reply, and added : " Let those who desire that I 
should often visit them, give Me the key of their will, and 
never take it back." Instructed by these words, the Saint 
composed for herself this aspiration, which she frequently 
repeated ever after : " Non mea, sed Tua voluntas fiat, Jesu 
amantissime .'" — Not my will, but Thine be done, O most 
loving Jesus ! 

14. There are many who say to the Lord, ** I give myself wholly 
to Thee, without any reserve," bnt tXieie vc^.l^^ ^Vck ^xs^xw^^^ 


practice of this abandonment, which consUts in receiving with a cer« 
tain indiHerence every sort of event, as it happens in conformity 
with Divine Providence, as weil afUctions as consolations, contempt 
and reproaches as honor and glory.— iS^. F. de SaUi. 

St. Vincent de Paul was a brilliant example of this. In 
all places^ times, oocupations, and circumstances, in tribula- 
tion and consolation^ in illness, in cold and heat^ in en- 
countering reproaches, calumnies, the loss of friends or 
property, he was never troubled or disturbed, but, as if all 
these events had been similar, he remaioed in great peace 
and tranquillity of soul, which he manifested by the sweet- 
ness of his words and the serenity of his countenance ; for 
he never lost sight of his maxim, that nothing happens in 
this world except as ordained by Divine Providence, into 
whose hands he had entirely abandoned himself. This once 
made a priest say in astonishment, ^^ M. Yiucent is always 
M. Vincent ?' 

Particular examples may be of use to illustrate this. 
When he received news that parties were endeavoring to 
bring law-suits and disturb his missionaries in their posses- 
sions and in houses and lands which they had acquired, his 
usual reply was, that nothing would succeed except what 
God pleased, and that as He was master of all their goods, 
it was just that He should dispose of them according to His 
divine will. When one of the most impoitant and useful 
members of his Congregation was seriously ill, he wrote 
thus to a person who was much grieved at the misfortune : 
" It seems as if our Lord wished to take His portion of our 
little company. It is, I hope, entirely His, and so He has 
a right to make use of it as He se( s best. For myself, the 
chief desire that I have is to wish nothing except the ful- 
filment of His divine will." In fact, though the preserva- 
tion of his CongregetVAotL ^^ w^ ^^w^c ViV\^^\x^\i!s?^^ desired 


either that or its increase and progress^ except in so &r as 
he was sure that God willed it/ so that, as he once said^ he 
would not have taken a step or uttered a word to that end, 
except in entire dependence on the Divine will. His prac- 
tice was the same in what regarded himself personally^ for 
he bore his many and great infirmities with much peace and 
tranquillity of soul. In the last year of his life, he per- 
ceived clearly, and often said, that he was gradually filing, 
but always with a perfect indifference, which proved that 
living and dying, suffering and relief, were the same to 
him. He was indifferent as to the food and the reo^edies 
given him, and though he would sometimes express the 
opinion that one thing or another did him harm, still he 
always took what the physicians ordered him, and seemed as 
well pleased with bad results as with good. In everything 
he regarded only the accomplishment of God's good pleas- 
ure, as the sole object of his desire and of his joy ; nor was 
there ever observed in him, either in sickness or health, the 
least token of a feeling opposed to this holy disposition. 

St. Jane Frances de Chantal had attained the same height; 
for we read of her that she received with equal indifference 
whatever occurred, whether adverse or prosperous, as she had 
no desire but that God would do with her and in her regard 
whatever He might plea^^e. For this reason, she never cared 
to think about what might happen to lierself or others in 
the fiitui-e ; that is, about what she should do in such or 
such circumstances ; as, for example, if she were in extreme 
want, whether she would go out and beg, or wait for help 
from Divine Providence ; she said that in such a case, she 
would ask the Lord with fresh confidence what she was to 
do, leaving herself, meantime, in His hands. She was once 
asked whether, in the various dangers she had encovixitexftd^ 
by land and water in her frequent joxvxiicj^, Ai^V^^SSc^awi^ 


hoped that Gcxl would rescue her from them. She replied 
that she had hoped not for rescue^ but only that the Lord 
would do what might be for His greater glory, by freeing 
her from the danger, or by leaving her to pet ish in it, and 
that in this total dependence on the divine disposal, her 
heart remained peaceful, tranquil, and at rest. 

To conchide, a holy and learned man said that a soul 
perfectly resigned, is like a body that forms a perfect square, 
which stands firmly on whichever side it may be thrown. 

16. If you give yourself to the practice of holy abandonmeDt, 
though you may not perceive that you gain at all, you will, in fact, 
advaDce greatly, as it is with those who sail upon the open sea with 
favorable wiods, trusting wholly to the care of the pilot.— /Sit. F, i» 

There was in a certain monastery a Religious whose 
power of working miracles was so great, that the sick were 
cured by merely touching his garments or his cincture. 
The Abbot wondered at this, as he saw nothing remarkable 
about him, and one day asked him for what cause God 
worked so many miracles by his means. " I do not know," 
he replied, " for I do not fast, nor use the discipline, nor 
watch, nor pray, nor labor, any more than others. This 
only I perceive in myself— that nothing which happens 
disturbs or disquiets me, but my soul remains in equal 
tranquillity in the midst of all events, however unfortunate 
they may be for m vself or others, because I have left every- 
thing in the hands of God. And so, whether it be pros- 
perity or adversity, whether it be little or much, I take 
all as coming from His hands." *' Then were you not 
troubled the other day," rejoined the Abbot, " when the 
enemy burned our granary ?" " Not in the least," was 
his answer. ** Hexe, \Sasii/\^ ^'^ ^^xisfc <^€ ^our nairacles," 
xeturjued the Abbol* 


A &rmer who always had larger and better crops than 
his neighbors^ was once asked the reason by one of them. 
" Why, I always have the weather to suit me," he an- 
swered, " for I always wish it to be as God wishes it, and 
not otherwise." 

16. One of the principal effects of holy abandonment in Qod, is 
evenness of spirits in the various accidents of this life, which is cer- 
tainly a point of great perfection, and very pleasing to God. The 
way to maintain it, is, in imitation of the pilots, to look continually 
at the Pole Star, that is, the Divine will, in order to be constantly in 
conformity with it. For it is this will which, with infinite wisdom, 
rightly distributes prosperity and adversity, health and sickness, riches 
and poverty, honor and contempt, knowledge and ignorance, and 
all that happens in this life. On the other hand, if we regard creat- 
ures without this relation to God, we cannot prevent our feelingiB 
and disposition from changing, according to the variety of accidents 
which occur.— -fi«. F, de Sales, 

Taulerus relates that there was once a great theologian, 
who for eight years in succession prayed to God to show 
him some one who would teach him the way of truth, nnd 
that, finally, when he was one day offering this prayer with 
great fervor, he heard a voice from heaven saying to him, 
" Go to the temple, and there you shall find him I" He 
went, and found a poor beggar on the church steps, half- 
clothed with a few rags, and covered with sores. Moved 
with compassion, he saluted him kindly with the words, 
" God give you good day, my good man !" " I never have a 
bad day," said the beggar, with a cheerful look. " God give 
you good fortune !'* went on the theologian. " I have 
never experienced any misfortunes/^ answered the other. 
'* How is this !" exclaimed the theologian ; " you have 
never had bad days, and never experienced misfortunes, 
loaded as you are with woes and miseries !" "I will tell 
7^17, ^^ replied the mcndieant. " 1 \\a\<a caaX. \£L^^tf^^«^^3^ 


npon the Divine will, to wbicb I so conform my own, that 
whatever Ood wills, I will also. So when hunger, thirst, 
cold, heut, or sickness molest me, I do nothing but praise 
God, and whatever happens to me, whether it be pros- 
perous or adverse, whether it be pleasing or unpleasant, I 
take all from the hand of God with great gladness, as 
that which can but be good, since it comes from a Cause 
which can produce only what is best.'' '' But,'' went on the 
theologian, *^ if God should choose to send you to hell, what 
would you do ?" '^ I would immediately plunge into it," 
returned the beggar. '^ For, see ! I have two arms : one is 
humility, by which I keep myself always attached to His 
most sacred humanity ; the other is love, which attaches me 
to His divinity. Now, if He were to cast me into hell, I 
would cling to Him so tightly with these two arms, that 
He would be obliged to come with me, and with such oom- 
panionship it would not grieve me much even to be in hell." 
" Who can you be ?" wondered the theologian. " I am 
a king," was the answer. " And where is your kingdom ?" 
" In my soul, for I know so well how to rule my &cul- 
ties, both interior and exterior, that all the powers, in- 
clinations, and affections of my soul are completely subject 
to me." " Tell me, how did you learn such great perfec- 
tion ?" " By recollection, meditation, and union with God. 
I was never able to find peace in anything less than God, 
before I succeeded in finding Him, and since then I enjoy 
continual peace." "And where did you find Him?" 
" Where I left affection for all other things." 

17. In this holy abandonment springs up that beautiful freedom of 

spirit, which the perfect possess, and in which there is found all the 

happiness that can be desired in this life ; for in fearing nothing, and 

aeekiog and deauing iiol\iVii^ol\Xi&>^\\i%^^l\2DAmQTld^ they pot- 


One of these beautifiil souls was that of St. Francis de 
Sales. In whatever happened to him^ he always showed as 
much satisfaction as if all had gone according to his wishes. 
For example^ when a fierce persecution iiad been raised 
against him and the Order he had founded, he wrote thus to 
St Jane Frances de Chantal : '^ I leave all these opposing 
blasts to the providence of God. Let them blow or cease, 
as shall please Him ; tempest and calm are equally dear to 
me. If the world did not speak ill of us, we should not be 
the servants of Christ." 

The Emperor Ferdinand II made tliis prayer every day : 
" O Lord ! if it be indeed for Thy glory and my salvation 
that I retain the position in which I am, keep me in it, and 
I will glorify Thee. If it be to Thy praise and my good 
that I sink to a lower place, abase me, and I will glorify 

Father Alvarez never thought about what was to happen 
to him, and if any thought of the kind offered itself, he 
would say, " It will be as God wills." Then, raising his 
heart to God, he would add : " O Lord, I wish for noth- 
ing but to please Thee and satisfy Thee !" 

18. How beautiful it is to behold a person destitute of all attach- 
ment, ready for any act of virtue or charity, gentle to all, iDdifFerent 
as to any employment, serene in consolations and tribulations, and 
wholly content if only the will of God be done l-St. F. de Bala. 

Behold how this Saint, without intending it, has depicted 
himself to the life ! For he was precisely such a person as 
is here described, as may be seen from many incidents re- 
corded in this work. 

19. When we have totally abandoned ourselves to the pleasure of 
Ood. submitting without any reserve our will and affections to His 
dominion, we shaii see our souls so \in\ie^\A^Vv^\A'Q^^^^3^$»^> 


that we shall be able to aay with that perfect model of Christians, 8t 
Paul : *' In myself I do longer live, but Jesus Christ in me."— -^. F, 
ds Sales, 

This Saint, aooording to the testimony of one who knev 
him intimately, in the last years of his life had reached such 
a point that he desired, loved, or regarded only Grod in all 
things. As a result, he seemed always absorbed in Grod, 
and said that there was nothing in the world which could 
satisfy him except God. He frequently uttered with ecstatic 
feeling these words of the Psalmist : ^^ Lord, what is there in 
heaven for me, or what do I desire upon earth save Thee? 
Thou art my portion and my inheritance forever." All 
that was not God was nothing for him, and this was one of 
his principal maxims. 

20. When one seeks to UDite himself to Ood, he should endeayor 
to discover, by self-examination, whether there is anything which 
forms a barrier between his soul and God, and whether in anything 
he seeks himself or turns back to himself. — El, Enrico 8u9one, 

St. John Berchmans, after examining himself to see 
whether he had an attachment to anything whatevei', found 
that there was nothing on earth for which he felt or could 
feel affection. This he expressed in a sentence found among 
his manuscripts ; '^ NuUi rei sum affectvSy et nihil habeo cui 

A gentleman of very high family, who had passed most 
of his life at court, guiding himself by the maxims of the 
world, was finally gained over for God by St. Vincent de 
Paul, and applied himself so earnestly to tlie pursuit of per- 
fection, that he became a model to all. Desiring still to 
advance, and feeling sure the more he separated himself 
fipom creatures, the more he would be united to God, he 
oRen examined bims^i ^\xi N^V^^^xV^^V^i.^^.^ attach* 

ment for rdativeery fiiends, honors^ property of^ comfoirtB^ 
and, whenever he discovered anything that was an entaagl&- 
ment to hxm^ h» immediately broke, or cut it away. One 
day he made his nsaal examination while riding on horse- 
back^ and could think of nothing for which he specially 
cared until he finally perceived that he had a fononess for 
his sword) which had saved his- life in many duels. Ii^ 
stantlyspringuig froni;iheh(Krse|hewentnptoa laigestone^ 
upon whidi he shivered it to pieces. Afterwards, he told 
the incident to St Vincent^ and assured him thatthis aet 
gave him such complete freedoniy that henerer a£Ber fe]% 
affection for any perishable thing. 

21. The ooDditkmtoff union seems to- b» nothing else Ihan dying* 
so to speak, entirely to all the things ef the world, and living in tha 
enjoyment of Qod.^8t. Hfma, 

This was the blessed stiote ofSt Catherine of Genoa, who 
confessed that she once had a vision in which it was shown 
her how all good proceeds from God, without any previous 
causeexcept His pure and simple goodness^ by which He was 
moved to do us good in somany ways and forms. '' From 
tjiat sighty'' she said, '^ th«re rose in my heart such an 
interior flame of love, that I lost all understanding, 
thought, widi, or love f(^ anything except Grod ; so that 
my soul neither knows nor can widi fur anything more 
or other than it is enjoymg at pi^nt, and is more pleased 
and satisfied with this than with anything it could obtain 
by all its efibrts and exertions. And if I should ask my^ 
self what I desire or aim at, I conld only answer, ' Noth- 
ing except what Love gives me V He ke«*ps me so occupied 
and satisfied with Himself that I have no need to plan or 
seek for anything to sustain my pow«», supported and 
mtttaiaeias ib^ are.'' 

986 ▲ YSAB WITB TH8 aUHlB. 

33. The soul which remaioi attached toanytbing, otoq to theleart 
thing, however maDy its yirtuet may be, will nerer arriTe at the lib- 
erty of Uie diTine union. It matten little whether a bird be fattened 
by a ttont or a slender cord, — as long as he does not break it, slendsr 
as it may be, it will preTent him from flying freely. Oh what a pi^ 
it is to see some souls, like rich ships, loaded with a precious frei^t 
of good works, spiritual exercises, virtues and favors from Ood, 
which, for want of courage to make an end of some miserable Vtr 
tie fancy or aifection, can never arrive at the port of divine onioa, 
while it only needs one good earnest effort to break aminder tbst 
thread of attachment 1 For, to a soul freed from attachment to aoy 
creature, the Lord cannot fail to communicate Himself f aUy, ss the 
sun cannot help entering and lighting up an open room when the 
sky is dear.— i6it. J. Ohrytadom, 

It is related in the Life of St. Gr^ory^ that a rich man 
left the world and retired into a wood^ taking with him^ 
to afford him some recreation in that solitude, only a little 
cat, as he loved it and often caressed it. Aftier living thus 
for some years in a constant course of prayers and penances, 
he prayed the Lord to be pleased to show him what reward 
was prepared for him. Then God revealed to him that he 
might hope for a place in heaven, equal to that which Pope 
Gr^ory would receive. The good hermit was much grieved 
at this information, and could not understand why one who 
had left all he had for God, and had served Him with such 
austerity, should not receive a greater reward than one who 
was living in the midst of riches and luxury. But the 
Lord opened his eyes by showing him that he was more at- 
tached to his cat, than Gr^ory to all the riches and honors 
he enjoyed ; and that perfection consists precisely in de- 
tachment from all that is not Grod. 

The nuns of the Visitation make special profession of 
detachment from everything, as they cannot appropriate to 
themselves the smallest article, not even a needle. To 
maintain tluB exceWeii\> ^i^m\»\xi \\»»^xi!^^T\^^^v^ 

BECSMBEB.— tJKlOlir. 387 

them from becoming attached to any object, their Rule re- 
quires them to exchange with one another every year the 
articles of which they make use-their rooms, books, forni- 
ture^ everything, even the crosses they wear upon their 

98. See why we never arrive at saDctification after so many Com- 
munions as we make 1 It is because we do not suffer the Lord to 
reign in us as He would desire. He enters our breasts and finds our 
hearts full of desires, affections, and trifling vanities. This is not 
what he seeks. He would wish to find them quite empty, in order 
to render Himself absolute master and governor of them.— ^. F, d$ 

The Saint himself possessed a heart of this latter kind. 
His confessor testifies of him that he would permit no affec- 
tion to remain in it^ that was not of God and for God. 
And so, if he saw anything alien to this springing up, he 
was ready to extirpate it, as it were, with steel and fire. 

The Lord once said to a good soul that the best disposi- 
tion for receiving abundant graces in Holy Communion is 
to empty the heart of everything. For, if a great noble 
goes to the house of one of his retainers, with the intention 
of filling all his boxes and chests, but finds them full of 
diaff and earth and sand, he is forced to retire with r^ret. 

This is the reason why holy souls have been so earnest in 
making good Communions. The Empress Leonora, who 
received three times a week, spent two hours in previous 
meditation, and wore a girdle of hair-cloth and ch&ins, 
with sharp points wound several times about her arms. 
After receiving, she remained for a quarter of an hour pros- 
terate with her face upon the ground, conversing with her 
IKvine Guest in sweet and tender welcome. Then, to re- 
tain the warmth of devotion through the da^ , ^^ "ces&sKis^s^ 
in ailenoe and soJitade in her room* &t. ^o^vwx^&Q^^c^aw^ 

9t8 ArmktLwrruTBMiuavm. 

gave the whole week to bis Communioii. Heoffiued cur 
aetioDfl of the three days preceding it^ as a prqiaiatioii, aod 
so endeavored to do th^a well ; and those of the three fid- 
lowing days he intended for a thanksgiving, 

The venerable Monseigneur de Palafoz, after his ecMiver- 
tton, and while still a secolar^ communicated often, that 
is, onee a week. He took np the practice of asking God 
for one virtue at each Communion, and resolving to extirpate 
some particular &ult, occupying in this sometimeB daya^ 
•ometinies whole wedoi. He thus endeavored, by the aid at 
divine grace, to conquer his evil inclinations and to diange 
his long-established habits, with a success that could be no- 
ticed from day to day, 

St John Berdmians was unwilling to receive Oommun- 
ion OQ holidays^ because, as he said, he could not preserve 
the necessary quiet and devotion cm such dayp ; and if he 
was to Qommunicate, he asked permission to rsnain in the 
house. He said, on one occasion, that each time he received 
Holy Communion he felt his soul perceptibly revived and 

34. To arrive at perfect union, there ia needed s total and i>erf6ct 
mortification of the sensea and desirea. The ahorteat sad moat ef- 
fectual method of obtaining it ia thia : Aa to the aenaea, what- 
ever pleasing object may offer itself to them, unconnected with pure 
love to God, we ahould refuse it to them instantly, for the love of 
Jeaua Cbriat, who in thia life neither had, nor deaired to have, any 
pleasure except to do the will of Hia Father, which He called Hia 
food. If, for example, there should arise a fancy or wiah to hear or 
aee thinga whidi do not concern the aervice of Qod, or lead eape- 
ciaX\y to Him, we ahould deny thia fancy, and refrain from behokKsg 
or hearing theae things ; but if thia ia not possible, it is anlBcieat nd 
to conaent with the will. Then aa to the desirea, we ahould endeavor 
to incllDe always to what U pooreet, worst, most laborioua, moat dif« 
Hcult, moat unpleasant, axxd v> ^<^\x«\xQ>Xi\\i%^x<^\fw\AfnfEQr sad to 

Siidi^ in tmth^ was the life 6f tbis Sititit^ wUdt he ptMA 
in the oontiuual exercise 6f interior and exterior mortificft- 
tion^ of which he never seeing to have enough, and in this 
way he attaint to great onion with Qod. 

St Francis fioigia often prayed the Lord to make all 
the pleasores of this life painful to him, and he strove to 
render them so himself, ad &r as he was able. And so he 
desired with avidity, soi^ht i^th solicitude, and embraced 
with gladness, all that was contrary to self-love, in food, cloth- 
ing, and habitation. By this means he made great progress 
in virtue and holy union. 

35. If you deeire to arrive at uniOD with God, let your converfla- 
tionandmaDDer of life be as interior as possible. Do Bot reveal your- 
self, or come foftb from yourself, either by words, gestures, or maa- 
nets, but strive to keep yeur^lf within yourself, turning to Ood 
alone^ who is present within you, and occluding from your heart all 
that you shall see or hear.— ^^ Enrieo 8u§aM, 

Father Alvarez, being asked the reason why he had 
seemed unusually thoughtful for some days, answered : ^^ I 
am trying to live as if I were in the deserts of Africa, and to 
keep my heart as much at a distance from all creatures as 
if I were really in a desert." And in this he succeeded. 

St. Bose of Lima made unusual efforts to conceal not only 
the good works and penances that die performed, but even 
the spiritualgifls which she received from the Lord, — never 
revealing them without necessity, even to her directors. A 
pemcm of high rank once had a great desire to know the spe- 
cial fliv6rs this Saint enjoyed, aii4 pressed her spiritual Father 
to eKdt an account of them from her. Though he fonfesaw 
that it would be very diffi6ult, yet he was so desirous to 
grant the &vor, that he tried to accomplish it under various 
pretexts, and with much persuasion. The ^6u& tnsad«. 
Boon petered the object of tlKse axtt&fite ^ tXsftL^^s^ ^^ Vs»^- 


blafc woidfl, entreated him not to questionlierihoiittlie mi- 
ter- She aaid that fiom her earlioBt jean die had mad 
fieqneotlj sapplicated her I^Kmae that no ooe might ever 
discover what He iiad wroi^fat in her out oi His pore good- 
nen ; and as the good Grod had gnmted this^ His minister 
shoold not take away a &vor whidi He had bestowed. 

St Thomas Aquinas, firom his earliest yoolh, was ooa- 
staotly seduiig to know God. When he had beoone a 
Beligioosy his sole gnrtififalion was to tiiinky to ^eak, and 
tohearof Grod; so that^ if anything was introdnoed in gen- 
eral oonversaticMi, whidi was not connected with God, he 
paid no attention to it, as a matter which did not concern 
him. He so directed to €rod and His good pkasore all his 
Wfirks and acdons, that when the Lord Himself asked him 
what reward he woold desire £oir the many woriu he had 
written for Him, "^ No other," he replied, ^ but Thysdf 
alone, my Lord and my Love P 

25. Be immoTable in this TesoloUcMi, to reoiain nmplj in the piw- 
eoce of God, by means of an entire reoandation and abandoonieot 
of yourself into the arms of His most boly wilL Sveiy time that 
yoa find TOOT spirit outside tliis dear abode, lead it bai^ ffeatly, 
without making any formal acts of the understanding or wilL For 
this love of simple confidence, and this reliance and rtpo&t of the 
soul upon the paternal bosom of the Divine Goodneas, incliides all 
that can be desired to please God.— £ir. F. d$ Salst. 

This was the fiivorite exeidse of SL Jane Fianoea de 
Chantal, whidi she practised by means of a simple ghwoe 
towards God, a simple acquiescence in His meet holy wiU, 
by resting simply in it, as a little diild in the aims and 
upon the bosom of its mother, without seeking to do any- 
thing else, or trying to examine what the Lord was working 
in her, or why He was doing it. In this she found her 
most complete repose, as she confessed in an account that 


fihe gave of herself to her director. " I feel my soul/^ she 
said to him^ '^ much inclined to sustain itself by a simple 
glance raised to God and His divine goodness. Though I 
no longer feel that total abandonment and sweet confidence 
which I once felt, and though I canuot even make an act of 
it, yet it seems to me that by this glance alone these virtues 
become more firm and solid than ever, and if I were to fol- 
low my interior impulse, I should practise nothing else." 
To check any disposition to a redundancy of words, she wrote 
upon a card a long prayer, including many petitions, praises, 
and thanksfgivings for her friends and relatives, and all for 
whom she was under obligation to pray, whether living or 
dead. She hung this card around her neck, and wore it 
night and day, having previously stipulated with our Lord 
that whenever she pressed it to her bosom she should be con- 
sidered as offering all the prayers it contained. 

Among the many practices of devotion which the venerable 
Sister Maria Crucifixa employed in thank^iving after Com- 
munion, one was to place Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament at 
rest in her soul, as if He were sleeping there, while she 
stood at His side, watching Him in humble silence, and 
obliging all her &culties, both interior and exterior, to re- 
frain from all exercise which was not directed to Him, and 
from every act except such as showed^ reverence for Him, 
that by an ill-timed activity they might not awake her 
Beloved. Thus, she kept all her powers long abased in 
silent reverence, occupied only with Jesus lying in her heart ; 
She confessed that she had derived greater profit from this 
exercise than from any other. She took care, however, in 
her previous preparation, to furnish the place well for Him, 
with devout affections and various acts, that He might rest 
with less discomfort. 

27. Wheo I see some persons very anxious about being attentive in 

398 ^ TXJLX WITH Tax SilNTB. 

prijrer, «&€! keeping their heade bowed while ooettpied te it, MlHlMf 
did not dare to stir in %he least, or to move eren in thought, that the 
Joy and eemible deTotion they hare may not leave them even in 
the slighteet degree.— ^tbie shows me how little they onderetand the 
road which leads to union, while they iniagbe that the wiude ttiftir 
consists in keeping their thoughts fixed. Ko, no, the Lord dssiies 
works. Therefore, when things present thenoselTes to be done, to 
which obedience or charity obliges you, do not at all regard losiag 
that devotion and enjoyment of God, that fbu may give Him pleaa- 
ure by doing these things ; lor they will Isad ymi more quickly tbsn 
the others to holy union.— vSL Ibrua, 

The blessed Okra di Montefidoo willingly employed her- 
self in the work of the convent, and said that in it the fffk 
of prayer even comes to its perfection. 

When St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi was a novice, she 
sometimes had permission from the Mistress to spend in 
prayer the time which was allotted to her companions for 
work. But she did not accept this &vor, saying that she 
was more willing to be occupied in any exercise of obe- 
dience, however laborious and humble, than in the very 
loftiest contemplation. When asked the reason, she replied : 
^* Because in performing the duties of the Order and of 
obedience, I am sure of doing the will of God, of which I 
am not sure when I engage in prayer or other exercises, no 
matter how good and holy, which have been chosen by my 
own will." She had the same feeling in regard to charity 
to her neighbor, and preferred it to contemplation, dear as 
that was to her. For to aid her neighbor in spiritual or 
temporal employments, she was ever ready to leave prayer, 
contemplation, and every other spiritual delight. 

28. Self-will, as God seys by the Prophet, is what spoils and cor- 
rupts our demotions, labors, and penances. Therefore, not to lose time 
and trouble, we must endeavor never to act from the impulse of 
nature, interest, incVmaVlotiA^vxi^^v, ox cA.^t\ce, but always from the 
pure and aingle motive ol dioVn^ Vki*^ h«>^ q1 Qi^^ v&i^. ^i»s\%M:^\&. ^sqol- 

*;.>t]>^ f 


MlTWio tiili ia an iHiiigB. Tbli is tb» inetl «ffMtiili» Miy itttMir 
St. V:, d$ iPantL 

It was tiie gnat and onlyaBOciefy of thiBfUattni tonn* 
deitake myibing to wbidi he liiigixt not seem impelled by 
the "Divime idU. And so he made it m rale aevw to en- 
gi^ by himself in new eBterprisesewn for the glory of 
God; which he had so aoach at hearty but alwajs waited nn« 
til the will of the Lord should be manifested to him by Su- 
periorsy or at least by the opintoia of others, or the prayem 
which he made or asked ; fer his humility made him 
always distrust his own light, and fear to be deceived. 

This most important truth was well understood by St. 
Catherine of Genoa, who spoke thus on the subject : ^ There 
is no pest more maligaant than that of self-will, which is so 
subtle, so malieioiiS) so deeply seated, which ocmceak itself 
in so many ways, and defisods itself by so many reasons, 
that itseems indeed adttuon. When it cannot gain direct 
obedience, it knows well how to win its way in some other 
form, and under Tarious focuses and pretexts, sndi as 
health, neoeasity, charity, justice, perfection, suffering for 
God, giving good exiunpte, finding spiritual consolation, 
condescending to the weakness of others, while we are all 
the whUe seeking^ contriving, and eherishing our own in* 
terests. I behold in it a sea of malioe so eu v«nomed, ao op- 
posed to God^ that He alone ean xesoneiis from it, and aiace 
Heaeeathia better than we, H^hae great compafision on ns, 
and never ceases t6 send «s insp'ratkAS; oontcadicdonsj and 
helps of all aorta to ddrv«r ns.'' 

39. To attain union with God, all the adversities that He sends us 
ate necessary ; for His only aim is toconsome all our evil inclinations 
from wilUn 4ad from Witkeiit Therefore, stiis^ta, injuries, insults^ 
in]lrmjiiaa,|^|r^, SteidlMiaal^ttimteaa^iid^^ 


lioiit, ltm|ititioiif of the deril, and many other thlogi opponed to 
our hmnan nature,-- aU aro axtramely needed by ob, that we may 
light until by meani of Tiotories we haTe extirpated all our eril in- 
clinationi, so that we may feel them no longer. Nay more, until all 
adTersitiei no longer aeem bitter to us, but rather sweet for God, we 
shall never arriye at the divine union.— fi^ Oaihenneqf Qenoa, 

'^ That such is the truth in this matter/' added the Saint, 
" I have proved by my own experience. For Divine Love 
sees that we hold so tenadonsly to what we have chosen, be- 
cause it seems to us good, and right, and beautiful, and that 
we will not listen to a word against it, as we are blinded by 
self-love, and so it makes a ruin of all that we love, by means 
of death, illness, poverty, hatred, discord, and detractions, 
together with scandals, lies, and disgrace falling upon our 
relatives, our friends, or ourselves, so that we do not know 
what to do with ourselves, as we are thus drawn away from 
everything we had cared for, and receive from all only pain 
ai)d confusion, and know not why the Lord permits these 
events, which seem quite contrary to reason, both as r^ards 
God and the world ; therefore, we torment ourselves, and 
strive and seek aud hope to escape from so many ills, but 
can find no outlet. When Divine Love has held the soul 
for a time in this suspense, and in despair and disgust with 
all she had hitherto loved, then He reveals Himself to her 
with a countenance full of beauty and splendor. And as 
soon as the soul, stripped and destitute of every other help, 
beholds Him, she casts herself into His arms, and, after 
aonsidering the divine operations of pure love, she says to 
herself: ^ O blind one ! with what wast thou occupied ? 
What didst thou seek ? What didst thou desire ? Seest thou 
not that here is all thou seekest and desirest, and all the 
delights thou wouldst possess ? Dost thou not find here more 
than thon couldst ever desire ? O Divine Love ! with what 
nreet art Thou bast dxttwuia^ \x> Y^ ^^ ^Vs^^^i.^^^ 


and to dotbe myself with a lova pare and fall of all trae 
jojs. Now that I see the tnithy I no^longer complain ex* 
oept of my ignorance and blindness. And now I leave to 
Thee all care of myself^ seeing clearly that Thou doest for 
me fiur better than I have the skill or power to do for my- 
self. I no longer wish to r^ard anything but Thy opera- 
tions, which only aim at what the soul truly wishes and 
desires, though from her blindness she knows not how to 
gam It. 

St. Elizabeth, daugnter of the King of Hungary, after 
being left a widow, was expelled from her home, abandoned 
by all, and tried by detraction, affronts, and contempt. She 
endured all with much patience, or rather, she was most 
happy to be able to bear such sufferings for the love of God, 
who rewarded her abundantly with the most precious gifts. 

80. To acquire perfection in general and all the virtues in particu- 
lar, even to attaining union with God. it is necessary to set before 
ourselves an example, which may serve as a guide for all our actions 
and all our progress. Now, it is certain that we can find no safer or 
grander example than that which Ood Himself has offered us in the 
person of His Divine Son, and happy is he who shall make the best 
copy of it. This, then, should be our book and our mirror, in which 
we ought to look, whatever circumstances may occur ; that is, we ^ 
should consider in what manner our Lord behaved in dmilar cases, 
and what instruction He has left us in regard to them, and then fol- 
low generously His sentiments and eiample.*— iS^. F de Paul 

It was the constant practice of this Saint to guide him- 
self thus in all affiurs^ by the example and teaching of the 
Savior^ which he kept before his eyes as a pattern in every 
action ; so that^ when he had to make any decision, to give 
any advice or reconmiendation, he instantly sought in the life 
and words of Christ some ground upon which to base it. 
And so he scarcely ever spoke without bringing in some 
word or action of the Son of Qod, nvV)^ >oijt ^^9^^\s^s5^ 


dooe in a wk>Qderiull7 appoeiter xnauner. But if he ecmld 
tiiink of nothing whioh had any bearing upon the pointy he 
would meditate a little before adting, and say to himtel^ 
** How would Christ fspeek or aet in this case f^ and then 
immediately did what he thou^t the Lord would have 

In the Chronioles of St. Francis we are told that one of 
his Religious had a vision in which he saw a path thickly 
set with briars, and at the opening of it stood St. Frandd 
with many of his followers. In their midst was Jesus 
Christ, who said to them, '^ This is the way We must go," 
and He immediately b^an to advmce into it. The Re- 
ligious were alarmed, and considered the undertaking too 
difficult ; but the Saint encouraged them, saying that it 
should be enou^ for them to walk in the footprints of the 
Lord. He then set the example, and they all followed with 
much ease. 

81. Oh what remorse we shall feel at the end of our lives, when 
we look back upon the great number of instructions and examples 
afforded by God and the Saints for our perfection, and so carelessly 
received by us I If this end were to come to you to-day, how would 
you be pleased with the life you have led this year ^--Bt, F, de Sales, 

St. Vincent de Paul used often to say : " Oh wretched 
me ! what an account I shall have to i*ender at the tribunal 
of God, where I am so soon to appear, of the many graces 
His divine goodness has bestowed upon me, if t have de- 
rived no fruit from them 1" 

St John Berchmans was so attentive to his own perfec- 
tion that whatever he learned in regard to it remained im- 
pressed upon his mind, and he put it into practice with the 
greatest exactness. 

Thomas k Kempis tells of a pious person who one day 
fell into great anxiety Vn T^;gMfti\to\^^%As^^i^^ 

DECEMBER.— maoN. 397 

Prostrating himself before an altar^ he raised his eyes, and 
exclaimed : ^^ Oh, if I only knew that I was to persevere in 
good to the end I" He instantly heard an interior voice 
that replied, " Well, if yon knew, what would you do ? Do 
now what you would wish to have done in that hour, and 
you will be in perfect security/^ Consoled by this, he 
abandoned himself entirely into the hands of God, without 
further inquiry as to the good or bad state of his conscience, 
and rather endeavored to discover and fulfil the will of 
God to the best of his ability. 

In the Lives of the Fathers we read of an old monk, 
who, when asked what exercise should be employed to at- 
tain perfection, made this answer : ^^ From the day I left 
the world, I have said to myself every morning : * To-day 
thou art bom again ! B^n now to serve God, and to live 
in this holy place I Commence thy life each day as if the 
following one were to end it !' This I have done without 
missing a day.'' 

Monseigneur de Palafox, as we read in his Life, at the 
very beginning of his conversion had a light from on high, 
by which he understood that he ought to live day by day, 
that is, to take all possible care to live as if he believed each 
day that he was then to die, and render his account to God. 
He acted in this manner through the whole remainder of 
his life, and he confessed that a method so sure to give him 
satisfaction at the hour of death, had also been of great 
value during his life. It is thus that we should profit in 
our lives by the lights that God gives us, if we desire in 
death to rejoice at having received them. 


o -if 
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APR 3 1954